Christian Arno

Eco icons: 3 examples of companies reducing their carbon footprints

3 min Read
Snowy mountain with long line of hikers hiking up it

You may have seen a recent headline bemoaning that a third of the FTSE 100 firms are well above the Paris Agreement’s global carbon budget. Well, at Pawprint, we like to turn negatives into positives. In my eyes, those firms have fresh-faced potential ahead of them. How exciting! Yet, it’s true that sometimes we could all do with a helping hand and someone to look up to, to show us what we’re aiming for.

So, I thought it would be both useful and encouraging to hero 3 companies that are going above and beyond in the ecosphere; that are fighting the carbon-free fight without necessarily shouting it from the rooftops; and who I believe to be great environmental pin-ups for those companies wanting to achieve Net Zero.

Now, for that helping hand. I happen to know a certain, friendly polar bear whose paws are free and furry. [Enter, Bjorn.]

IKEA

I, like many others, have spent particular life moments preceding the name IKEA with words I cannot express here. But when it comes to IKEA’s eco journey, they are striding in the right direction:

  • Aiming to become carbon positive by 2030, whilst growing the business’ revenue, is good going. To confirm, they will reduce emissions from their value chain by at least 15% compared to FY16, and ‘remove and store carbon in land, plants and products’ Check out their detailed sustainability report for a breakdown of how this will all work.
  • Then, by the same date, they will ensure every single product is 100% circular and only made from renewable or recycled materials. “Not possible”, I hear you say.  Well, if their achievements so far are anything to go by...

Although there is always room for improvement, IKEA has already hit some big milestones. Last year, they reached their forestry target, meaning 98% of their wood is now sustainably sourced. 83% of their polyester is recycled. They also assessed all 9,500 products for circular potential, where buy-back schemes and the development of spare parts will increase product lifetimes and promote zero-waste consumption.

When it comes to lowering emissions, the group has invested in the development of biofuel made from cooking oil waste and forest residue. Currently, one-third of all IKEA truck transports within Sweden use HVO biofuel, with all customer deliveries and services across 30 global markets to use EVs or other zero-emission solutions by 2025. They’ve even launched a plant-based meatball. Fantastisk!

Patagonia

Patagonia takes environmentalism to the next level. Seriously, how long have you got? This adventure-gear brand, founded by the climbers Yvon Chouinard and Tom Frost, has a rags-to-riches history of environmental and social good which would spark anybody’s childlike wonder.

Today, this billion-dollar company guarantees that 78% of their materials are recycled, 100% of their cotton is grown organically and 100% of their down is ethical and certified. They have also laid out plans to become carbon neutral across the entire business (including the supply chain) by 2025.

Customers can buy used, trade-in and fix their gear through a system called ‘Worn Wear’ and 1% of every sale goes to the preservation and restoration of the environment. This is through a not-for-profit corporation called 1% for the Planet, which they themselves set up and to which any business can join (by the way). It distributes funds to grassroots environmental groups inciting real change.

Oh and it doesn’t stop there. Aware of their position on the global stage, they are using their platform as a megaphone to combat the most pressing environmental issues. I often find myself reading their rolling web articles on changemaker stories around the world. On that note, if you haven’t read ‘Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman’, pop your runners on and get down to a local bookshop now.

Untitled Oats

This Scottish start-up sells oat milk and proves that being environmentally-focused is not always about having a portfolio of stakeholders and a purse full of silver. Where you might say that plant-based milk is now an exciting global market, this brand keeps it purposefully simple and local. The reason being, that rather than flying ingredients halfway around the world, they source all their oats from organic Scottish soil. Oats are known for their Scottish heritage after all.

Their drinks are sold in glass bottles, which they collect and re-use to eliminate any chance of recycling microplastics. To top it all off, all glass bottle deliveries and collections are made by bike or EV. Who said the milkman was dead?

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People say you should never meet your heroes. To me, this old adage proves that, given the right tools, anyone can generate the same success. At Pawprint, we empower people and businesses to shrink their carbon footprint, whether or not they’re appearing on front-page news. To learn more about our offering and how your company could be the next IKEA, Patagonia or Untitled Oats, see below.

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