Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

2018! The year that was! Last year certainly saw an increased amount of attention towards climate change and the utmost need to switch to sustainable means. The news that the scientist of the world warned that we only have 12 years to overturn climate change spread like wildfire.That certainly helped to put things in perspectives.

World’s biggest corporates came forward and promised big changes in their organizations and pleasantly, many have delivered on them. Let’s take a quick recap of the last year.


End to Plastic

sustainability

2018 was a defining year to highlight the massive havoc the plastic has created in the world. This earth’s day, India hosted it with the theme of “Beat plastic Pollution”. The world is moving away from plastic, slowly but steadily. Starbucks pledged to phase out single-use plastic straws by 2020. American Airlines is also taking the same plastic free route.

McDonald’s and Starbucks are also teaming up to develop a compostable coffee cup.

Most importantly, 250 organizations including World Economic Forum, H&M, PepsiCo, Unilever announced that they will work together to develop a circular economy for plastic to avoid the plastic entering the oceans and landfills and bring it into action to make all plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.

Apart from that, Dell and the Lonely Whale Foundation, NextWave, is urging companies to collect ocean-bound plastic and turn it into products. HP and Ikea are following the trends by prototyping products made of ocean plastic.

Nike rolled out shoes made out of ocean plastic. The North Face has also put in similar efforts by launching the Bottle Source Collection, featuring T-shirts and tote bags made from plastic bottles collected at national parks and converting them into ThermoBall jackets.


Protecting the Greens

Although the plastic remained the main focus of the year, the destruction of forests and local environments also came under scrutiny. The Greenpeace released an adorable yet sad short cartoon video of a homeless baby orangutan explaining the havoc created by deforestation caused by palm oil plantations.

Lush, the natural beauty company, has launched a program in Guatemala to encourage the regrowth of native crops like vanilla and avocado, used in Lush’s products, as an effort to reverse the effect of deforestation for palm oil plantations.

Annie’s, an organic food company, is sourcing wheat from a farm in Montana that uses regenerative farming practices–a method of planting and land use that both restores soil and sequesters carbon in the ground.

Also, Apple is investing in a massive initiative in Colombia to restore and protect a 27,000-acre forest of mangroves–one of the most effective carbon-sucking species on the planet.

Amazon, which is often pointed at for contributing the least among top towards sustainability, has launched Sustainability Data Initiative meant to help organize the “vast amounts of data that describe our planet.” The idea is to get organizations and scientists and individuals to share metrics, forecasts, images and other information about oceans, air quality and species.


Going Electric

World’s biggest companies are keen on reducing their carbon footprint. When it comes to sustainability Ikea is way ahead of its game, Ikea has switched to zero-emissions delivery vehicles.

UPS and FedEx, are also working on transitioning their fleets to zero-emissions delivery vehicles.


Adopting Clean Energy

2018 saw a number of organizations switching to renewable energy. Google is transitioning to renewable energy, with a commitment to match 100 percent of its energy use with renewable purchases.

Apple, by working with a number of utilities to ramp up solar and wind production, now runs on 100% green energy at its own facilities.

Levi’s also has bold plans: The company will be powered by 100% renewable energy at its own facilities by 2025, and will also cut emissions in those buildings by 90% from where they were in 2016.


These are big steps toward a sustainable future. The change at the top can change the world. But the real heroes of sustainability are the individuals that make small changes in their lives and inspire others to do so. Individual effort will not make any significant direct difference in reversing climate change but it can create a market for it so that the industries can adapt in a similar fashion and inspire others to do so.

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