The Most Environmentally Conscious Fortune 500 Companies

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shutterstock_72499621Unfortunately, protecting the environment often falls way down the list when companies are out to make money. This trend is beginning to change however as stricter government regulations try to cut down on pollution, and public relations try to match the growing concern for “going green.” Many of the leading companies are striving to become carbon neutral, stop pollution, and market themselves as a green and environmentally friendly company. Below are some of the Fortune 500 companies that have gone above and beyond the call to date.

Intel Corporation
The powerhouse of producing processors leads the charge by buying 89% of its power needs from green power. Green power is energy drawn from wind, solar, biogas, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydroelectric sources. Intel bought close to 2.8 billion kilowatt-hours in 2011 which reduces carbon emissions equivalent to taking over 370,000 cars off the road. Intel has also built solar installations in Israel and the United States that produce almost four million kilowatt-hours a year.

Kohl’s Department Stores
Even though Kohl’s is second to Intel when it comes to kilowatt-hours purchased, it only has close to half of the amount with 1.5 billion kilowatt-hours. This is impressive in itself, but where Kohl’s really shines is the fact that the company supplies 100% of its energy needs with green power resources.

International Business Machines
IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative won it the World Environment Center’s 2012 Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development. The lengthy title of the award reflects its standing as IBM is the only company to have won it on separate occasions, 1990 being the other year. IBM was chosen because the Smarter Planet initiative is found not only throughout the company, but it also impacts cities and businesses that use IBM services.

CA Technologies Inc.
This company is entrenched with their commitment to be green with their CEO being a founding member of the CNBC Carbon Council which focuses on producing green technologies and software. CA reduces its environmental impact in a number of ways. By allowing 30% of its employees to work from home through Flexible Workplace Program, CA has reduced its carbon emissions from commuting. In their India building there is even a worm farm on site that breaks down any non-plastic waste. Much of this waste is paper that CA cuts down already with software that stops the printing of unneeded pages. CA also holds all of its suppliers accountable by performing monthly checkups to make sure that the suppliers are meeting environmentally sustainable requirements.

These are only a few on the many companies that are taking the initiative and setting a high bar for going green. Unfortunately, there are still many Fortune 500 companies that do not do enough to reduce their emissions. The largest instigators are actually utility companies that produce electricity and until green power and renewable resources are a large, viable option these companies probably cannot do much to improve their carbon footprints.

Miles Hall loves writing about the business world. He contributes to, and is primarily interested in businesses for sale.

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