Business With Heart: Sustainability Examples

Illustrated infographic of sustainability practices in business with statistics and specific corporate examples.

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[Infographic Transcript]

Sustainability is a trend that is here to stay. Business sustainability goals help large companies maintain competitive advantage, improve their reputation and reduce inefficiencies.  Below, we explore some corporate role models of sustainability in a variety of industries.

Corporate Sustainability is More Important Than Ever

Americans feel strongly about environmental and social issues, and they want their buying power to go toward companies with responsible practices.

Ninety-two percent of Americans are worried about the quality of the environment. (1)

Forty-two percent said they worry a great deal about it. (1)

Seventy-five percent said they try to act daily on their concern for the environment. (2)

Eighty-six percent believe that companies should stand up for social issues. (3)

Sixty-eight percent said they believe it’s important for companies to work toward improving the environment. (4)

Sixty-seven percent will be prioritizing healthy or socially-conscious food purchases this year. (5)

Sixty-four percent of U.S. households buy sustainable products, up 4 percent from 2017. (4)

Advantages of Practicing Corporate Sustainability

It’s the right thing to do, and sustainable and socially conscious practices make good business sense, too.

  • Customer goodwill and appreciation
  • Improves efficiency
  • Increases employee morale and wellbeing
  • Helps maintain a competitive edge
  • Necessary for legal compliance and regulation (6)

Corporate Sustainability Goals for 2018

Companies are working toward reducing carbon footprints, greener manufacturing processes and improving their communities.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions topped the list of corporate sustainability goals with 65 percent of companies citing it as important.

Other top goals include:

62% – Reduce materials used

57% – Reduce waste in manufacturing

51% – Reduce water usage

50% – Improve sustainability of products

42% – Utilize recycled materials in manufacturing

38% – Design products with “end of life” considered (7)

Businesses with Heart: Corporate Sustainability Role Models

Corporate sustainability role models and the drivers within their industries.


Top three drivers of sustainability:

  • Increasing cost of materials
  • Scarcity of materials
  • Consumer demand (7)

Industry role model: Levi Strauss & Co.

Selected initiatives:

  • Levi’s developed Water<Less™, a method to reduce water usage in the denim finishing process by 96 percent.
  • Since its development in 2011, they have saved over 1 billion gallons of water.
  • Through the Water Recycling and Reuse Standard, the first standard of this type in the apparel industry, Levi’s so far has saved 30 million liters of fresh water in their pilot program. (8)


Top three drivers of sustainability:

  • Regulations
  • Increasing cost of materials
  • Scarcity of materials (7)

Industry role model: Tesla

Selected initiatives:

  • Tesla designed the world’s first premium all-electric sedan, the Model S.
  • The company is committed to producing all vehicles at their North American factory, and most components are manufactured there, too.
  • In addition to electric cars, Tesla manufactures batteries and renewable energy generation and storage. (9)

Consumer products

Top three drivers of sustainability:

  • Consumer demand
  • Regulations
  • Scarcity of materials (7)

Industry role model: Proctor & Gamble

Selected initiatives:

  • In 2010, P&G implemented a supplier environmental sustainability scorecard, which measures the environmental performance of their suppliers.
  • They have pledged to reduce greenhouse emissions by 30 percent by 2020.
  • In 2017, they introduced the first shampoo bottle made from recycled plastic. (10)

Food and beverage

Top three drivers of sustainability:

  • Consumer demand
  • Regulations
  • Scarcity of materials (7)

Industry role model: Newman’s Own


  • Newman’s Own Foundation donates 100 percent of net profits and royalties.
  • Since 1982, they have donated more than $530 million to nonprofit organizations globally.
  • Areas of focus include veteran empowerment, children with life-limiting conditions and community nutrition efforts. (11)


Top three drivers of sustainability:

  • Increasing cost of materials
  • Scarcity of materials
  • Regulations (7)

Industry role model: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Selected initiatives:

  • Through project Gigaton, Wal-Mart has pledged to remove 1 billion tons of greenhouse gasesfrom their supply chain by 2030. (12)
  • In the financial year 2017, Wal-Mart:
    • Donated 13,000 tons of unsold products.
    • Diverted 82 percent of unsold products and packaging from landfills in the U.S. and 77 percent globally.
    • Recycled 200 tons of cardboard, 20 tons of plastics and 20 tons of food waste globally. (13)


Learn to help companies achieve these important goals with AMU’s B.A. in business administration online.