Put Your Heads Together. Make a Difference Now. | Net Impact

Put Your Heads Together. Make a Difference Now.

Happy #EarthDay2016, everyone! Hopefully you’re out there coming up with ways that you personally will fight climate change, as well as celebrating this beautiful planet we call home. Despite the glut of scary news about climate change, there are reasons to rejoice today. A recent report backed by the United Nations, for example, says that thanks to a bigger worldwide investment in renewable resources, we’re 15 percent of the way towards averting that disastrous 2-degree Celcius rise in Earth’s temperature. However, we still have a lot to do. Below we highlight ways some business sectors are making sustainability a top priority. Read to the bottom to see how you and your coworkers can join the movement.

Saying no to fashion victims

In women’s fashion, at least, the rule of thumb has long been “No pain, no gain.” Yet ever since the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, the phrase has taken on a much darker meaning. The tragedy killed 1,134 people, injured hundreds of others, and basically woke the world up to all the social and environmental injustices occurring within the international garment industry. Some companies responded with a large donation to make things right. Other companies, such as the Portland Garment Factory, have simply made it their mission to do it right the first time around. By keeping the design and manufacturing process within the cut of this American shoreline, the factory makes a statement against overseas sweatshops and massive container ships laden with cheap cotton T-shirts; it’s also a pledge to support local artists. 

Other companies, such as San Francisco’s BeGood Clothing, used sustainable methods in setting up shop. The flagship store has a salvaged floor and it’s furnished with finds from the Alameda Point Antiques Faire just across the bay. The clothing itself is made from organic cotton, cutting down on world-wide use of pesticides and insecticides. Plus, for every purchase made at BeGood, the company (in partnership with the nonprofit Evidence Action) turns 12 gallons of water into a potable resource for people in Uganda and Kenya. 

Here’s a list of more companies you can support to be a responsible clothing consumer.

Driving change

Within the automobile industry, there are the gas-electric hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, and there are the fully electric vehicles, such as the Nissan LEAF, and then there are all the rest, filed under Gas-guzzling Earth-haters, right? Not necessarily. Harley Davidson, for example, is taking a serious stand against carbon emissions under this catchy slogan: “We preserve and renew the freedom to ride.” You can read the company’s last six years’ worth of sustainability reports here but highlights include: the company set a waste-to-landfill target of 9% in 2014 but actually beat that number with a reported 7.9% of waste to landfill; it’s hoping to achieve virtually zero percent waste (translation: less than 2%) to landfill by 2022. The company has also set a goal of reducing its energy consumption by 25% between 2013 and 2025, using methods such as standardized shut-down/start-up procedures for employees and facility-wide LED lighting inside manufacturing plants.

Challenging change to start within

Just as people can do better, so can companies. Fostering that belief from a sustainability perspective, Net Impact is launching its 2016 Impact at Work Challenge: Climate Disruptors. The virtual competition dares employees to inspire change from within the walls of their own company, starting today and running until Sept. 9, 2016. It’s free and for a good cause. Any professional working within any sector (nonprofits, for-profits and government entities) may participate, provided the company or organization employs at least 10 people. If you’ve already got a project in existence where you work, good for you - you can still enter it! Follow this link to the contest page and get your teams registered. Let’s bring climate change to a grinding halt.