5 Examples of Successful Conscious Businesses

In a previous post, I discussed the idea of “conscious business,” what it means, and why it’s important. Today I want to give you some real world examples of how conscious business practices are employed by successful companies of all sizes.

Here are 5 companies that are truly walking their talk, and doing their part to care for people and the planet:

1. Patagonia

Patagonia grew out of a small company that manufactured steel pitons and other climbing hardware. Over the years it has evolved and expanded to become a leading outdoor sports apparel brand.

The company is as passionate about protecting the environment as it is about making great products. Calling themselves “the Activist Company,” they have always been on the leading edge of corporate social and ecological responsibility. They use sustainable materials, like organic cotton, traceable down and wool. They implement Fair Trade practices, in order to help ensure that workers — around the world — get paid a a living wage. And they are continually analyzing their supply chain and production methods, to keep improving their business model and minimizing their environmental impact.

2. Seventh Generation

Another company that puts ecology first is Seventh Generation, maker of natural, plant based cleaners and recycled paper products. Their name comes from a Native American saying, that “we must be aware of the consequences of our actions on the next seven generations.” And they take it to heart.

From LEED certified facilities, to sustainably sourced ingredients, they work hard to pioneer environmentally-friendly business practices. They have also started the #comeclean campaign, seeking to require ingredient lists on household cleaning products. And on top of all that, they are also a certified B Corporation (and founding member of B Corp) — which means that they are held accountable to the highest social and environmental standards.

3. New Belgium Brewing Co.

Another certified B Corp, New Belgium Brewing company is out to accomplish two things: 1) make “outta this world BEER,” and 2) prove that business can be a force for good.

Like all conscious businesses, they strive to continually improve not only their profitability, but also their energy efficiency and sustainability. They generate their own energy through solar and bio-gas, and provide bicycles and electric cars for employees, to help reduce their emissions too. They resell, recycle or compost 99.8 of their spent grain, and practice water conservation — including advocating for changes in state law to allow for rainwater collection and the use of grey water for landscaping, etc. They are also 100% employee owned, which means the profits go straight back to the workers.

Oh, and their beer is truly outta this world. Mission accomplished, I’d say.

4. Rethreaded

Rethreaded is proof that even a small business can have a HUGE impact. Based in Jacksonville, FL, Rethreaded is an online retailer of hand made goods that are ethically produced. They only partner with suppliers of local, sustainable, upcycled and Fair Trade goods.

They also provide work opportunities to survivors of the sex trade, often women living on the streets with no other options. Rethreaded hired their first full time employee in 2012, and since then has provided thousands of hours of work and training to survivors in the Jacksonville area. And impacted the lives of thousands of women around the world.

5. Google

Last but not least, the tech giant Google earns high marks year after year for it’s social and environmental responsibility efforts. From their Mountain View offices furnished with repurposed materials and eco-friendly carpets and paints, to their commitment to combating climate change. They have been carbon neutral since 2007, and they are on pace to hit 100% renewable energy for their global operations this year. They also invest heavily in new technology which aims to solve some of the toughest social problems in the world: from human trafficking to access to clean water. And they have given millions of dollars in grants, and billions worth of free apps, ads and products to worthy causes around the globe.

Check out their 2016 Environmental Report for a full breakdown.

So, there you have it. 5 excellent examples of conscious business practices at work, in all different markets, at all different scales. What are some businesses you would like to recognize? Tell us in the comments below!

Image: seventhgeneration

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