America’s political atmosphere too often is allowed to dictate what is done about the actual environment. Thankfully, many corporations look beyond the posturing and do what they believe is right for the Earth and the creatures — including us — who call it home.
We feature some of those big companies today in Business Journal, including Mammoet, Dow Chemical Co. and BASF. It’s not a coincidence many of the best environmental stewards are based in Europe or have a significant presence there, since those countries long have required Earth-friendly operation.
In the United States, however, where phrases like “climate change” are considered blasphemy in our culture of economic hedonism, companies whose practices include environmental preservation programs aren’t doing them to meet strict governmental regulations. They’re doing them because their corporate philosophy tells them minimizing their impact on the environment is the right thing to do.
Because once we move away from the political arguments, there are still things that are undeniable. We all must breathe the air into which companies release chemicals. We still must plant food in the soil over which groundwater flows.
Companies with strong ecological visions protect those necessary elements of life out of a sense of responsibility.
Mammoet recently installed a washing system at its Rosharon site that that reduces and reuses water in the process. It also features a Bio Digester System that contains a specialized strain of aerobic bacteria that eats up fats, oils and greases.
Dow Chemical has been working with The Nature Conservancy for almost a decade on programs such as reforestation, which can cut ozone levels. The company’s Freeport site was home to a pilot program in which natural environments were identified to perform key services.
BASF contracted with the City of Clute to bring in reclaimed water to use in its processes and built a well from which brackish water is drawn and treated. These help reduce the company’s reliance on surface water — which we rely on for potable uses — in its facilities.
Away from industry, major corporations such as Kroger are reducing their environmental imprint by eliminating plastic bags, replacing them with paper and encouraging customers to buy reusable bags. Some retailers adjust their lighting based on the time of day to reduce their power use. Kohl’s Corp. has solar panels on the rooftops of 161 of its stores, providing those buildings with half their power needs, and windmills provide electricity at two of the company’s distribution centers.
One thing about all of these efforts that cannot be overlooked or minimized — the companies aren’t doing it all out of the goodness of their bleeding hearts. Going green has saved them all significant sums of money, making it both fiscally and ecologically responsible.
Ensuring the long-term health of the planet is something everyone should play a part in, but major corporations can have a far greater, more sustainable impact that one person choosing to drive an electric car or convert to LED bulbs. Those like the ones we’ve mentioned are taking that responsibility seriously, and it is their stakeholders and everyday Americans who are being rewarded.