• Major Fortune 500 and Global Corporations are signing agreements to protect the environment.
  • Greenhouse gasses and Climate Change is A reality now being faced by multiple countries across the Globe
  • Packaging contributes to one of the most critical forms of pollution and also to the most devastating loss of oxygen-giving trees

In April of 2021, an unprecedented move was carried out by 51 companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, PepsiCo, Alaska Airlines, and 48 others whereby they signed Amazon’s The Climate Pledge. To date, more than 100 businesses have signed this pledge; these signatories generate a combined revenue of $1.4 trillion in sales annually and 5 million employees. They operate in 25 industries with a presence in multiple countries. They have committed to protecting the environment by signing this pledge, whether through taking up eco-friendly packaging or reducing greenhouse gasses. We’ll elaborate on this more and also why everyone needs to be ready to accept this change.

The Importance of Sustainable and Environmentally friendly Packaging and What it Means for the end-user

Almost every product we buy is packaged in something – from food items to cosmetics from auto spare parts to even your furniture from Ikea. It’s all packaged in boxes and containers – mostly these are made of paper and plastic – and both play an essential role as far as the environment is concerned, as we’ll elaborate below:

Paper comes from trees; trees are the second-largest carbon sink after the oceans. They process carbon dioxide to produce oxygen, something we humans and most life on Earth needs to survive. And we cut down trees to make the packaging and other paper-based products.

Solution: The recycling of paper and packaging to be used repeatedly is finally taking place. Many packaging companies like The Legacy Printing are moving forward with this initiative, as we’ll discuss later on. Also, massive movements at the government level are being taken to restrict the number of trees being cut and also to increase the number of trees being planted. At the same time, suitable alternatives are also being researched.

On the other hand, plastic is so common that we are having problems dealing with it – with a life that goes on for thousands of years, it’s cluttering our land as well as the ocean. It’s choking the animals under the sea and on the ground. Knowing what to do with them is the next big question.
Solution: There is a consolidated effort to recycle plastic to reduce the amount made; however, plastic bags are one of the biggest culprits of this kind of pollution. That is why research is being done to create biodegradable plastic or similar alternatives that will easily break down and become part of the ecosystem without harming it.

The Crucial Role That Packaging Companies Play

The creators of packaging and boxes for large corporations are either their manufacturing plants or independent companies. Many of these companies have become more eco-friendly by using recycled paper and plastics as a sustainable source for the many boxes and containers they make for their clients. The four main paper types used in the industry for various packages are cover cardstock, Kraft cardstock, corrugated cardstock, and rigid cardstock. Kraft is usually made of recycled paper and is opted by default by many environmentally conscious companies. Cover and Corrugated cardstock are also materials that can be easily made from recycled sources – however, the problem arises with rigid cardstock as the name says it’s much different from the rest and expensive as well; when companies ask for customized rigid box orders, not all companies, unlike The Legacy Printing, can comply by making it with recycled materials. Packaging companies need to promote and use recycled, sustainable sources to make the boxes and containers for their clientele.

Having described the importance of eco-friendly packaging, we believe it is pertinent to move onto what the Climate Pledge is and why we should be ready for this change of companies going green.

A Bit About the Climate Pledge

The Climate Pledge was co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism back in 2019 to be net-zero (the amount of greenhouse gas produced is also reduced by the same amount from the atmosphere) by 2040. Since then, companies have continually joined up and worked to achieve this cause. The Pledge comprises three main objectives:

  • The regular monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gases
  • To strive to conform to the Paris Agreement and create actionable plans such as increasing efficiency, moving to renewable energy and recyclable eco-friendly packaging, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Achieve Net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040, a decade before the time set by the Paris Agreement of 2050.

The Race to Save the Planet and Ourselves

After describing the pledge, we must mention that this effort or race to save the planet from climate change and ourselves from harm and possible extinction is not new. Scientists and environmental activists have been warning us about this problem for decades, yet money and material wealth clouded our judgment and continue to do so even now.  Although the theory behind climate change and its study and effects was first done in the 19th century, the first universal movement for climate change happened with the establishment of UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in March of 1994. It took a long while to get members/countries on board, with the most significant turning point being the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. 40,000 to 100,000 people participated, calling for attention to and an agreement on realizing the grave future climate change will bring and working to save the environment and prevent a dystopian tomorrow. Then the Paris Agreement of 2015 was a major step towards this effort where 196 countries signed an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. This war is being fought at a country-by-country level; individual companies have taken up arms and are participating in this campaign at the corporate stage. The Climate Pledge is one such example – next, we’ll look at some major businesses and their steps in the good fight.

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Major Companies that Support Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Business Practices and Their Efforts

As mentioned earlier, various corporations – some of them are Fortune 500 companies – have taken steps to work towards an environmentally friendly business model. At the same time, others have taken initiatives to get everyone on board the Save the Planet train. So without further ado, here are a few of the top companies and their efforts:

Amazon: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we are starting with them when they started The Climate Pledge. Besides, they have installed roof-top solar panels on all their distribution warehouses and have set up ten renewable energy farms with wind turbines.

Coca-Cola: The giant beverage might get scrutinized over its excessively sweet product, yet it is working towards a greener future. They have committed to cutting their GHG emissions from their core business by 50% and by 35% across their entire value chain by 2025. The company since 2017 has also spent over $6 million in projects to reduce the impact of plastic pollution and promote recycling, among other initiatives.

Google: You wouldn’t think the world’s leading search engine and one of the largest IT corporations would stay behind? Google has taken initiatives worth $2.5 billion to support environment-related activities. These include mapping how much forest we have lost, tracking and monitoring illegal fishing, and using low power consumption systems and machines within their data center to conserve energy. Plus, they have pledged to power their search engine completely through sustainable energy sources.

Wal-Mart: In 2005, the then CEO of Wal-Mart H Lee Scott Jr. announced to all their employees a staggering 1.6 million and 6,000 plus stores that they were going green with three goals in mind:

  1. to be powered by renewable energy
  2. to make zero waste
  3. to sell products that sustain and protect the environment.

Currently, they have set the goals for 2035 to be powered 100% by sustainable energy like wind and solar power. And they also plan to zero out carbon emissions from their logistics vehicles by going electric or choosing alternatively powered trucks and cars by 2040.

In Conclusion: Why Should It Be Your Concern?

As we have discussed, climate change is a reality that no sane person or company can deny – the annual increase in temperatures, the melting and breaking off of Arctic and Antarctic glaciers, and the freakish weather patterns are a testament to this dystopian reality. Suppose that doesn’t get the alarm bells ringing. In that case, the simple fact that Fortune 500 companies and new start-ups are working towards sustainability and eco-friendly options should pique anyone’s interest in the matter. Still, suppose the companies are thinking in material terms and sales. In that case, they should know in a recent survey by GreenPrint that people (a whopping 78%) prefer sustainable and eco-friendly products and are willing to pay extra for such items. After reading that statement, any normal business’s think tanks’ neurons and synapses should’ve started firing on overdrive. The fact of the matter is that companies that take the lead in sustainable and eco-friendly packaging and initiatives will capture the larger market share, and those who are late to the party will have their work cut out.