Companies that Take Climate Change Initiatives Can Attract Talents

Many people, especially young ones, have grown more aware of climate change in the past few years. It behooves global mobility professionals to watch out how their next recruits will be more conscious of companies they work for, if they are champions of reducing carbon emissions. Fortunately, many companies are taking such action to address the global climate crisis.

Recently, Upwork came up with its own study which is not surprising given that its business model relies on remote work. The company is aware of the role it can play in substantially reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through fewer commuter cars off the road. 

So far, Upwork claims that it has enabled team members to avoid over one million commuting miles in 2019 with the help of calculating that from expert consultants at Industrial Economics. A remote-first work model for every team member was also adopted in 2020. 

It’s interesting how Upwork took its part. It broke down GHG emissions into three categories: scopes 1, 2, and 3 can be applied also by other companies. 

Scope 1 emissions are those GHGs released from sources directly owned or operated by a company, which for Upwork only include office heating from natural glass. 

Scope 2 emissions result from the generation of electricity purchased by a company. For Upwork, scope 2 emissions are generated solely from the electricity used at its offices. Lastly, scope 3 emissions cover all indirect GHG emissions occurring in the value chain of a company.

In those two scopes and two locations — its San Francisco and Mountain View offices– Upwork’s use of electricity was down, as it used renewable resources such as solar and wind. 

Under scope 3, cloud computing, business travel, and employee commuting were also down, especially since team members were allowed to work remotely. 

Upwork is just one of 101 companies taking action to reduce their carbon footprints. In San Francisco, the government is also working toward diverting all of its waste away from landfills in the next few years and has banned harmful items like plastic bags and water bottles.

Eco-conscious tech giants 

The tech giants are also taking a strong stance when it comes to protecting the environment, because not only does it make sense for them to do so, but it helps companies save on unnecessary costs later.

Apple, for instance, runs completely on renewable energy and has lowered the energy output of its products by 70%, while rival Microsoft aims to reduce carbon footprint by 75% by 2030.

Adobe has earned plaudits for creating LEED-certified offices and reducing water consumption by 60%. Amazon’s big facilities use energy-efficient lights and solar panels, plus renewable energy farms for powering data centers. 

eBay’s strong return policy and used item marketplace encourages customers to exchange or reuse items instead of throwing them away. 

Facebook is also committed to reducing its greenhouse gas footprint by 75% and aims to uses only renewable energy by 2020. Intel is focused on water preservation.

Google depends on renewable energy and purchases enough renewable energy to match the electricity it consumes. Dell uses big data analytics to monitor energy consumption in its facilities. IBM is a strong proponent of smart buildings and water resource management.

Non-tech companies’ initiatives

Other non-tech companies that have also taken a strong initiative include the following:

In the automotive industry, BMW is creating fuel-saving and alternative cars with clean production processes, while Honda is perched high up as one of the most fuel-efficient auto manufacturers in the US. Tesla does everything sustainable with its electric cars, of course.

Celebrity Cruises’ entire LED light system of its Solstice ship is powered by on-board solar panels, plus it has a filtration system that almost completely cleans wastewater.

Coca-Cola is reducing its carbon footprint by 25% by 2025. Another big company, Disney, uses zero net direct greenhouse gas emissions. Even Lyft the ride-sharing company is doing its part by making donations to offset carbon emissions. Starbucks aims to be free of plastic straws/

In agriculture, John Deere, the farming equipment company, aims to recycle 85% of materials and reduce carbon emissions on 90% of its new products. Monsanto, on the other hand, has reportedly created carbon-neutral crop production practices that it uses on millions of acres of farmland, while Nutrien the agricultural company has encouraged innovative practices from its farmers to create healthy soil and environmental sustainability.

In fashion, Levi Strauss & Co is making a line of jeans made of recycled water bottles and partnering with other eco-friendly clothing brands. The running shoe company Brooks has produced a biodegradable shoe that is supposedly both durable and eco-friendly. Patagonia donates 1% of profits to groups cutting carbon emissions.

Shake Shack locations are powered with renewable energy from wind farms and the restaurant recycles packaging and cooking and composts food waste. Nestlé recycles coffee grounds to supplement fuel in 22 of its factories.

For those looking to be more eco-conscious at home, all of IKEA’s cotton and half of its wood is sourced from sustainable farmers. Home Depot invests in eco-friendly products, including lumber from sustainable tree farms. 

Over 5 years, Bank of America reported that it cuts its paper usage by 32% and recycles 30,000 tons of paper every year with a recycling program.

Hopefully when travel is back to normal, many airlines will have instituted carbon-neutral programs as well. United Airlines reportedly invested more than $16 billion to replace all of its airplanes with more fuel-efficient models and looks to continually lower its carbon emissions.