Companies Championing a Better Environment
The environment looms large in the news as of late. From public lands to climate change, both the American public and American companies seem to have something to say about our role in climate change and what we should do to for a better environment. While a surprising number of companies now commit to eco-friendly practices and products, four stand out in 2017 as champions of the environment and the next steps of renewable energy.
Apple‘s CEO Tim Cook is not shy on the topic of climate change and his company’s impact on the environment. He sent an open letter to all his employees after President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate agreement, expressing his disagreement with the president and his commitment to double down on Apple’s effort to combat climate change.
Apple commits to making its popular products, such as the latest iPhone 7, more eco-friendly but its also now powering popular services such as Siri and iMessage completely from renewable energy. These services are housed in giant data centers around the world and Apple uses wind and solar energy to power them.
Patagonia is a popular camping and hiking outfitter that cares deeply out the well-being of our parks, forests and public lands. So when politicians express interest in turning that land over to private ownership, companies like Patagonia don’t take it lightly.
Early this year, Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz proposed moving more than 3 million acres of public land from federal to state ownership, essentially jeopardizing its funding and federal protection. The Utah public was outraged, but Patagonia was particularly vocal in the fight against this move to the point that it was inevitably rescinded in February. Now Patagonia is standing up for National Monuments like Bears Ears, also in Utah.
It’s not hard to explain why Tesla’s success is good for a better environment. Its electric vehicles have zero carbon emissions so the more of them on the road, the fewer gas guzzlers drive around in their place. But like Tim Cook and Apple, Tesla CEO Elon Musk carries a celebrity status regarding his commitment to the environment and ambition to change the industry with more eco-friendly products.
Most people know about the Tesla Model S, the company’s flagship car, but that’s only a cornerstone in Tesla’s foundation. Elon Musk has invested heavily in the self-powered home, producing both solar panels and large-capacity battery packs that act as either backup generators or solar storage devices when the sun goes down at night.
No need to read it twice, this isn’t a typo. Exxon Mobil and other major energy companies are recognizing the reality of climate changes to investing resources in renewable energy. Going back to the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, even energy companies expressed concern over this country’s role in climate change. Or, more specifically, lack thereof.
This isn’t to say that oil companies deserve a moral pat on the back, but it is evidence to suggest that climate change and a shift in energy production is finally hitting big oil in the one place they do notice — their wallets. If American energy won’t invest in renewables, China and India will. That’s a reality that is now enticing enough to force action from our own domestic energy companies.