Shoppers often want to be wise consumers of the environment as well as wise spenders, but how can environmentally friendly companies be recognized in the store or market? The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides many lists of energy-conscious and resource-efficient companies, corporations and even organizations, carefully not endorsing any of them. Other organizations have great websites to help consumers learn more about the environmental impact purchases make. Many companies are “going green” and they want shoppers to know about it.
Energy Star Partners are companies who have applied to EPA and qualified as partners because they have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Some companies come and go from these lists, but the Sustained Excellence Awards go to companies that consistently improve on their previous performance.
Minnesota corporate powerhouse 3M is one of these. In 1990, 3M set a goal of 50% reduction of the company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2010. By 2007, they had achieved a 62% reduction. 3M has made process improvements in their manufacturing facilities, practiced energy conservation in all their corporate offices and buildings, and developed products that help customers reduce their GHG footprints.
Other Energy Star Partners recognized by EPA include hotel giant Marriott International, pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck & Company, Ford Motor Company, and Whirlpool. See a complete list at the EPA’s website, EPA.gov.
WasteWise Partners try to reduce solid waste. Solid waste fills up landfills, causes vehicle traffic, excess energy use and depletion of natural resources. The impact of tons of solid waste is felt up and down the environmental chain. Responsible companies are recycling, reusing and reducing just as consumers are urged to do at home.
It is no surprise that 3M and Marriott International are also on the WasteWise Partners list. Bank of America, Blockbuster Video, and waste hauler Waste Management might at first glance seem surprising. However, think of the paper passing through a bank in one day. Consider what happens to used video cassettes and DVDs. Waste Management might seem an odd partner, but filling up landfills too quickly is not a good business plan for the trash hauling giant.
See the complete list of WasteWise partners or search for your favorite company in the WasteWise section of the EPA’s website.
There are many organizations that are training consumers to be greener in their purchasing habits. For example, try ibuydifferent.org. It is sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund and the Center for a New American Dream. Buy from Buygreen.com, a website that sells items it has vetted and approved, such as recycled Hewlett Packard ink cartridges.
Want a place to start? Try these companies or surf their websites to see what they are doing to make your purchase more environmentally friendly. This list is not exhaustive. There are plenty of other companies out there vying for enviro-friendly business.