The Home Depot
The Home Depot now sells more FSC-certified wood—which ensures that trees are replenished after they’ve been cut down—than any other retailer in the country. In 2007, the six-time Energy Star–award winner launched an exclusive labeling program to give customers the option to choose products that have less environmental impact than their competitors. While many of the company’s 30,000-plus brands clamored to make claims of eco-viability in order to acquire the label, the company’s strict standards certified only 3,500 products. The Home Depot has also reduced its overall store energy consumption and adopted CO2-reducing EPA SmartWay carriers, and it offers a free recycling service for CFL bulbs, rechargeable batteries and cell phones at its stores.
A front-runner in eco-friendly practices, Lowe’s stepped up its environmental game in 2000 by developing a wood policy to ensure that its lumber suppliers are sourcing from responsibly managed, non-endangered forests. It also supported the Lacey Act, which aims to end illegal logging globally. The company ranks sixth among America’s top retail green power purchasers and was the first company to receive all three EPA awards in 2010. It also expanded its piloted Energy Center last fall to offer its customers affordable solar technology via mobile solar chargers and by putting grid-connected solar power systems on the shelves of some of its stores, a first for a major retailer.
Spotlight on Past Winners
A few of Bayer’s green projects: protect crops threatened by climate change; cut CO2 emissions from its company vehicles by 20%; increase the energy efficiency of its production by 10%; and build zero-emissions facilities. But its partnership with the United Nations Environment Program to create youth education projects is what really had us seeing green. Thanks to its annual contribution of $1.5 million, 2 million children have benefited from scholarships, science camps and international conferences.
Want to get a little more green from your bank? Look to The PNC Financial Services Group. It’s the first U.S. bank to apply green building standards to its retail branches. In 2009, the firm unveiled an innovative six-story, 2,380-square-foot “living” wall, which was constructed from regional plants to improve the energy efficiency of headquarters. PNC has invested $100 million over ten years toward its Grow Up Great program, which aims to improve learning opportunities for millions of underserved preschool children.
Thanks to its Greenlist, which classifies the impact of raw materials on our health and environment, SCJ has eliminated 48 million pounds of VOCs (pollutants) and is in the process of phasing out DEP, a chemical that has been linked to health risks in animals. In addition, SCJ has cut greenhouse gas emissions from its factories worldwide by 32% since 2000; gets 40% of its energy from renewable sources; and powers its largest plant with two wind turbines, having the effect of taking 5,000 cars off the road each year.