With consumer concern for environmental sustainability rising, products made using eco-friendly materials and practices have greater appeal than ever. Earth-minded consumers vote with their wallets, and oftentimes convince friends, relatives, and coworkers to do the same. If environmental stewardship is something you admire and wish to reward, you can feel good about shopping at these eco-friendly companies.
Major outdoor apparel manufacturer Columbia is making increasingly sustainable clothing. One example is the OutDry Extreme Eco Jacket, made from 100% recycled materials. In seven flagship Columbia stores, consumers who bring in any brand of clothing to recycle are eligible to receive 10% purchases of 5 or more.
In 2010, H&M was lambasted for destroying and discarding rather than donating used clothing. Since 2013, the fast fashion retailer has collected more than 40,000 tons of used clothing in its stores. H&M is also committed to using green fibers and energy. Nearly 50% of its cotton currently comes from sustainable suppliers, with 100% expected to by 2020. And more than 96% of the electricity used in H&M’s manufacturing comes from renewable resources.
Fort Collins’ based New Belgium Brewing is the country’s third-largest craft brewer. It’s also one of the most eco-friendly beer manufacturers in the world. New Belgium is transparent about its energy use, waste production, and emissions, monitoring and recording its energy use for the world to see. The brewer also composts, recycles, or reuses the vast majority of waste accumulated during production, more than 75%. New Belgium’s brewery and taproom is a convenient day trip from AMLI’s Denver apartments.
Once you’ve worn through a pair of this Amsterdam-based firm’s sneakers, you can plant them in soil and grow flowers. The same goes for OAT’s casual footwear, baby shoes, and bags.
Columbia is working on giving Patagonia a run for its money as most sustainable major sportswear manufacturer. But the 40-million company named for the southern Andes is still ahead of the pack when it comes to sustainable manufacturing and retail operations. Patagonia’s track-record for environmental stewardship dating back to the 1970s. The company has encouraged sustainable outdoor exploration since its founding in 1973. In 1985, Patagonia started donating 1% of its profits to environmental organizations. The company buys wool from suppliers who use sustainable grazing practices, and encourages consumers not to buy things they don’t need. It holds the attitude that repairing clothes and equipment is better than buying new, and permits employees to take paid time off to volunteer with environmental organizations.
Harvesting rainfall is more than just a way to save water. It’s a way to save water that protects gardens and building foundations from damage during heavy rainfall. Using RainHarvest’s systems, you can reduce your water consumption and generate healthy potable water and gray-water.
Method and Seventh Generation are equally eco-friendly companies, according to B Lab ratings covering the “best countries for the environment.” Seventh Generation is just a bit larger and a bit older. The company was founded on a pledge to consider the impact of our decisions on future generations. Since 1998, it has been doing that. In addition to making cleaners that are biodegradable, vegetable-based, and free of caustic chemicals, Seventh Generation rewards workers whose innovation makes the company’s products more eco-friendly.
In 11 years of operation, TOMS has donated more than 60 million pairs of shoes to people previously living without a single pair. That’s one pair for every pair purchased. Beyond the humanitarian-minded nature of its business, TOMS is one of the most eco-friendly companies in the shoe manufacturing world. TOMS’ shoes are made with sustainable, vegan materials that can be recycled or reused.
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