Amid a surge in environmental consciousness and shift towards green consumerism, people are looking for eco-friendly guarantees for their goods and purchases. Aside from meeting this rising demand, businesses and the private sector have the responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint and ecological impacts as the climate crisis intensifies. While a number of companies and corporations have been accused of greenwashing, there are many others that have shown strong commitment to sustainability. Here are just 12 examples of sustainable companies in the USA making great progress.
Sustainable Food Companies USA
1. Clif Bar and Company
Best known for its range and variety of protein and energy bars and drinks, Cliff Bar and Company has a strong record of sustainability commitment and transparency. Their traceability programme allows consumers to know where Clif Bar’s ingredients are coming from, and to see their progress on increasing organic and certified-sustainable purchases every year (currently 76% of all ingredients are organic or certified sustainable). The company also diverts 90% of waste from landfills from its headquarters and bakeries, and is working towards powering its facility on 100% renewable energy. As it strives towards zero waste, Clif Bar is also reducing its carbon footprint via emission offset with a partnership with American Forests. To date, the company has planted 150,000 trees in areas damaged by wildfires and areas contributing to watershed restoration.
2. Current Foods
With the aim of supplying seafood products without the environmental and ethical consequences, San Francisco-based food tech startup Current Foods (formerly Kuleana) has developed sushi-grade plant-based fish alternatives to replace consumer favourites like bluefin tuna and salmon. It is one of the first plant-based seafood companies to address the lack of vegan alternatives to sashimi-like raw fish in the market. Its plant-based tuna, made with radish, bamboo, algae, and pea protein and with high nutritional values including iron, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acid was even named one of TIME’s top 100 best inventions in 2021.
3. Good Catch
Plant-based seafood companies are on the rise as a way to reduce the global demand for fish, which has led to a myriad of problems including overfishing and harmful fishing practices that are decimating our marine species. Good Catch is one such company. Offering alternative seafood products from crab cakes and fish sticks to incredibly realistic fish fillets and salmon burgers from a six-legume blend of peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans, and navy beans., the company is also committed to not using palm oil – production of which is a major driver of deforestation particularly in Southeast Asia – artificial flavours and colourings as well as hydrogenated fats.
4. Lundberg Family Farms
Rice cultivation is one of the most water-intensive processes in agriculture. But Lundberg Family Farms, which is widely known for its organic rice and rice products such as risotto and couscous, they have figured things out all the way back in 1937 with their eco-friendly farming methods. They also pioneered many stewardship practices including flooding fields rather than burning them to break down rice stubble after harvest, thus providing cleaner air and habitat for millions of migrating waterfowl each winter. The Lundbergs also utilise cover and rotating crops and ensure 20% of its production is powered by solar energy. What’s more, the company has rescued more than 30,000 mallard duck eggs from fields ahead of harvest, which are then released back into the wild, making it one of the most sustainable companies in the USA.
5. NOW Foods
Founded in 1968, this family-owned business provides quality supplements, and sources verified food that uses only palm oil derived from cultivations that are over 20 years old and krill oil sourced from well-managed fisheries. NOW Foods has received the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award four times in recognition of its water conservation projects that helped save more than 1.3 million gallons of water every year. The company also recycles more than 400 tons of material, while relying 100% of recycled materials for its shipping boxes. Additionally, NOW also offers employee volunteer days at a local forest preserve.
6. The Plant Based Seafood Co.
This family-owned business is also run by an all-female team, and successfully created and sold award-winning seafood products over the past 20 years. But no longer able to turn a blind eye to the “unacceptable and hidden practices” in the industry, the company is switching their entire attention to aquaculture and plant-based seafood alternatives. There are currently six food products available, from crab and lobster cakes to scallop and shrimp. The latter – made with 100% plant-based ingredients – was named Most Disruptive Product of 2020 at Prepared Foods’ Spirit of Innovation Awards.
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Image by: Wholesome Culture
Sustainable Clothing Companies USA
7. Christy Dawn
This Los Angeles-based women’s (and kids) apparel company originally started out as a sustainable clothing brand, offering dresses made from pieces of deadstock fabric, which are excess rolls of fabric left over from larger fashion houses. But the team behind Christy Dawn saw that being ‘sustainable’ wasn’t enough; they need to work towards regenerative. This resulted in the launch of their farm-to-closet initiative that relies on regenerative farming in Erode, India. Together with Oshadi Collective, a community of traditional farmers and craftspeople, they grow their own cotton using regenerative practices that don’t require chemicals. Along with their organic cotton collection where items are coloured with organic or natural dyes, the brand also offers land stewardship investment that help regenerative cotton farming and support practices that will sequester 480 pounds of carbon over a six-month period.
Started out in 2009 as a vintage clothing store, Reformation quickly expanded into making their own garments using low-impact materials. These include rescued deadstock fabrics and repurposed vintage clothing. They rank different usable fabrics from A (renewable materials) to D (Don’t use unless certified) and aim to make 75% of products with A and B fibres. The company is also 100% carbon-, water- and waste-neutral, and is committed to making the company climate positive in 2025 by investing in renewable energy directly in their supply chain.
9. Wholesome Culture
Specialising in sustainable activewear, Wholesome Culture’s designs are printed with eco-friendly water-based ink, made from 100% organic cotton, recycled plastic bottles and bamboo. The company has also teamed up with local artisans in Bali, Indonesia to incorporate recycled fishing nets and nylon into their clothing and products as well. All clothes are made to order, meaning there‘s minimal waste unlike mass productions. Any leftover garments are also donated to partnered organisations and people in need while giving back 10% of profits to animal rescues and environmental organisations. Though they ship orders worldwide (with a few exceptions), the business ensures everything is shipped in biodegradable or recycled packaging.
Wolven celebrates creativity, diversity, body positivity and sustainability through colourfully designed activewear. Their fabrics are produced from a cellulose fibre derived from beechwood pulp that’s twice as soft as cotton, and sustainably harvested wood-pulp fibres. These carbon-neutral materials also require no toxic pesticides, no clear-cut farm land to grow, and substantially less water than cotton. The brand also gives plastic bottles a second life by transforming them into new thread, weaving them into non-toxic fabric. All the orders are wrapped in reusable, 100% recycled poly mailer or a biodegradable paper box.
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Sustainable Tech Companies USA
Though Apple has often been criticised for its business model – constantly pushing new products and software updates that makes the devices obsolete, fuelling further consumerism and e-waste – the company’s operations have made significant strides towards sustainability and was even named one of 50 most sustainable companies in the world in 2021. Since 2015, Apple’s carbon footprint has decreased by 40%, and in the 2020 fiscal year, reduced their energy use by 13.9 million kilowatt-hours through efficiency efforts. Their suppliers in its Supplier Energy Efficiency programme also helped avoid more than 900,000 annualised metric tons of supply chain carbon emission. The same year, Apple-created renewable sources account for 90% of the renewable electricity its facilities use. As it moves closer towards their 2030 carbon neutrality goal, the tech giant is also incorporating more recycled plastics across its products.
This American tech company is seeking to go carbon neutral across its operations by 2025 and to reduce their value chain greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 before achieving net zero emissions by 2040. HP managed to reduce its carbon footprint by 4% in 2020 and achieved a triple “A” rating for its transparency and action on climate, forests, and water for the second year in a row. As for its water footprint, the company managed a volume of 209,097,000 cubic metres in 2020, dropping 11% from 2019.
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