WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY INNOVATION?
In the world of business, sustainability innovation can be defined as the process of evolving old business models and creating new ventures that realize economic value and generate positive environmental and social impacts simultaneously. While nature doesn’t come with a clearly labeled price tag, sustainability innovation understands that there is great economic value in preserving ecosystems, natural resources, biodiversity, and cultures and communities around the world.
Sustainability innovation adjusts traditional business models and practices in a way that supports a mutually beneficial exchange among people, planet and profit.
HOW IS SUSTAINABILITY INNOVATION DRIVING THE GREEN ECONOMY?
The green economy operates on low carbon power sources, resource efficiency, and social fairness and inclusivity. As more companies, governments and other organizations have realized the economic value in minimizing environmental and social impacts, sustainability innovation has served as the spark for revamping policies and regulations and improving business practices.
With sustainability at the forefront of business models, companies can operate sustainably while still allowing reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
GREEN COMPANIES TO RECOGNIZE
Here are just a few of today’s top green companies who are establishing sustainability as the standard for business and truly shaping their industry. Through their forward-thinking approach to create a secure and sustainable future for everyone, they have enhanced the way we live, consume, and do business in a way that equally supports both a thriving planet and economic growth.
Operating in most major U.S. cities, Replate is a tech-driven nonprofit that combats food waste by connecting food donors and food rescuers together. Replate works with restaurants, caterers, food distributors, offices and other organizations to directly deliver their surplus food to those in need in local communities.
Using their patented algorithms, Replate is able to locate food donors, connect them with nearby food rescuers and propose the most efficient path to distribute the food.
Food waste is both a social and environmental issue and by finding a way to fully utilize perfectly good food, insecure communities find relief and the environmental repercussions of food waste are avoided. Replate’s circular model not only makes it easy for any business to reduce their carbon footprint and give back, but it has also created new jobs by inviting those in the community to apply to become food rescuers.
Smog Armor is a non-toxic, zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint brand that eliminates indoor air pollution, helping create healthy, safe spaces. VOCs are chemical substances that easily become vapors or gases and can cause throat irritation, respiratory inflammation and, at worst, nervous system damage.
Smog Armor has incorporated sustainability into the entire lifecycle of their products to ensure a low environmental impact even after disposal. Even Smog Armor’s packaging is designed to be as sustainable as possible. They have created a paint pouch that uses 80% less plastic than standard paint cans, and labels are made with 100% recycled paper. Smog Armor also sells paint by the can which is made from 100% recycled plastic and can be washed for reuse.
All of Smog Armor’s materials are sourced in the US and they’ve partnered with a local green paint manufacturer to make the paints locally and reduce their carbon footprint.
Ginkgo Sustainability Inc.
Ginkgo Sustainability Inc. is bringing sustainability into the built environment through living roofs and living walls, structures that use plant power to lower building energy use, reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality and encourage biodiversity. Ginkgo offers consulting, design, installation and maintenance services for green walls and green roofs to help clients realize their green building goals.
By creating a harmonious relationship between nature and the built environment, urban areas can support nature rather than disturb it, and reap several environmental and economic benefits. Living roofs and walls help lower a building’s energy use and surrounding urban temperatures by reducing heat island effects, the absorption and re-emission of the sun’s heat. These green structures also attenuate stormwater runoff, saving nearby water bodies from erosion and leaching fertilizer, chemicals, waste and other components.
It is also through this reconnection with nature that mental and physical health is improved. Living walls and roofs act as a noise buffer, cut down on air pollutants and create tranquil spaces for increased productivity and wellness.
EcoEnclose is one of the largest, trusted eco-friendly packaging and box providers. From custom fits to just a standard box, EcoEnclose offers shipping boxes in all shapes, sizes, and configurations. Even better, all EcoEnclose boxes are 100% recyclable and biodegradable.
They also utilize algae ink printing for a truly green shipping experience. While water and soy-based inks are more environmentally friendly, they still use carbon-based pigments whereas algae ink pigment is made of algae cells. While algae ink is only offered in black print right now, this new-age technology has been found to be carbon negative – that is, it sequesters more carbon than is used to produce it.
EcoEnclose also offers sustainable options for mailers, bags, void fill and packing paper, stickers and labels, and more.
S.I. Container Builds
S.I. Container Builds, Inc. constructs modern living and workspaces from recycled shipping containers, creating spaces that are functional, attractive, affordable and have a smaller carbon footprint. From backyard offices and business studios to guest suites and cozy lounges, S.I. Container Builds offers a variety of layouts and customization options to fit whatever needs and visions their clients may have.
Their builds consist of recycled shipping containers made from Corten steel, a highly durable material that is weather, rust and pest resistant. S.I. Container Builds ensures their dwellings are insulated to tackle any climate and that all international building codes are met, making the build process simple and stress-free.
Starting with a recycled structure is a big deal when it comes to building and construction. Roughly 39% of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions come from traditional building and construction activities. In addition to having a lower carbon footprint, S.I. Container Builds’ dwellings also minimize ground disturbance through the use of helical piles – an anchoring system made from hollow steel tubes – instead of pouring concrete (another big contributor to global emissions).
Besides the shipping container itself, S.I. Container Builds also incorporates recycled and energy efficient materials into their builds whenever possible. This includes Illume LED lighting, FEMA approved closed cell spray insulation and reclaimed wood for interior decor and exterior cladding. Solar options are also available to clients as another means to reduce emissions.
NM Group optimizes electricity network performance through the use of remote sensing and 3D visualization. With detailed geospatial data, NM Group conducts computer-based analysis to determine transmission line integrity and onsite conditions. In the last two years alone, NM Group has modeled approximately 45,000 miles of overhead lines for vegetation management purposes.
Prework scoping and identifying barriers beforehand reduces abortive labor and unnecessary site visits and aids in the safety of ground support personnel. Moreover, this information allows utility clients to effectively evaluate their assets and determine the safest and most cost effective way to operate them. Improving the efficiency of electricity networks saves energy which is critical to energy security at large.