Brands around the world are increasingly embracing sustainability — and not just for reputation management as it was in the past. A McKinsey survey revealed how many companies are applying sustainability principles to improve their operations and boost productivity and growth.
Most of these companies contribute to sustainability efforts by cutting energy consumption, developing green products and educating their employees. But a few choose sustainability as the basis for their existence right from the start. Below are seven ways in which startups are making money even as they save the oceans.
Ikea might still be better known for cheap flat-pack bookcases than sustainability. But the world’s biggest furniture company is in the process of transforming itself to fight climate change. The latest step—a pledge of 1 billion euros (or $1.13 billion) for renewable energy and climate adaptation projects—is one piece of Ikea’s bigger vision to bring you the greenest Smörboll and Ödmjuk.
“We looked at this issue and said there hasn’t been enough positive advocacy from the business community,” says Steve Howard, Ikea’s chief sustainability officer. “It’s only now that we’re starting to see more businesses step up in this space.”
Over the next five years, the Swedish giant will spend €600 million on wind and solar installations for its stores and factories. That’s on top of another €1.5 billion spent since 2009; by 2020, the company plans to run on 100% renewable energy. To put these sums in scale, these figures are higher than what some entire European nations have pledged to the UN Green Climate Fund. Germany, one of the biggest donors, pledged €750m. It’s also a not-insignficant chunk of Ikea’s net profit in 2014: €3.33 billion ($3.79 billion).
After winning a design competition, Philadelphia architects KieranTimberlake have a $1 billion project on their hands in the shape of the new US embassy in London.