‘Sustainability’ is a buzzword, and also a strategy.
“There are two greens — the green that saves the world and the green that saves money,” says Ron Jarvis, vice president of merchandising and sustainability for Home Depot.
Many companies are trying to do both through technology, updated manufacturing processes and programs to keep their products out of landfills.
There are doubters.
Environmentalists say consumers should be skeptical of some sustainability claims. Not all green efforts are equal, they say, advising consumers to go beyond the rhetoric to see what’s real and what’s spin.
Here are four examples of how major Atlanta-based companies address sustainability.
Definition: Sustainability is about creating social value while growing our business. Social value means empowering women, replenishing water and enhancing well-being for people and communities.”
Efforts: “Give back” all water it uses by 2020. Using plants and other eco-friendly products in recylable bottles. Honest Tea great recycle project.
Savings: Water is one of Coca-Cola’s biggest costs. Diversfying materials used in packaging such as the renewable ingredients in plant bottle.
Running energy efficient stores, offering green products and using a supply chain that emphasizes green technology.
Efforts: Almost 7,000 of the 35,000 products in the company’s stores are “green” as defined by an impartial third party. In 2008, Home Depot created Framing Hope, which gives some returned or unsold products to non-profits. Company says that has diverted 70,000 tons from landfills since 2008.
Savings: Framing Hope has saved more than $56 million in energy costs, mainly by reducing landfill waste and new manufacturing, according to a 2012 Indiana University study.
Definition: Development that meets the needs of this generation without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Efforts: Since 1996, 49 percent of flooring-maker Interface’s raw materials have come from recycled and bio-based sources. The company also hires Filipino fishermen to reclaim nylon fishing nets that are recycled into yarn.
Savings: Interface said it saved about $340,000 last year as a result of waste reduction efforts.
Definition: Use 80 percent recycled aluminum in products by 2020.
Efforts: Recycle 40 billion cans annually and raise the overall recycled content of material to 80 percent by 2020, up from the 43 percent today
Savings: After a plant stamps out aluminum for auto parts, about 50 percent of the sheet is left over. Recycling puts scrap back in supply chain.