Cookies help us run our site more efficiently.

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information or to customize your cookie preferences.

Search results

GoGreenNation News: Meet the 13 brands elevating everyday tasks, from washing dishes to banking
GoGreenNation News: Meet the 13 brands elevating everyday tasks, from washing dishes to banking

Washing the dishes, cooking a meal, catching a flight, doing some banking, at a glance, the tasks and routines of our everyday life can appear as a collection of mundane and uninspiring experiences. However, there are brands working to avoid that appearance, and make these routines more meaningful in a variety of ways. Our Place turns a single kitchen pan into a stylish statement against unnecessary waste and carbon neutrality. Blueland uses dish soap and body wash to address plastic waste, and a more efficient supply chain, while Pinterest finds unexpected and inclusive ways to add more joy and utility to the daily scroll. Here are the brands elevating our everyday: Alaska Airlines Since its founding, Alaska Airlines has been defined by its West Coast roots—and routes. In its nascent days, it provided bush planes for isolated communities in its namesake state, and still crisscrosses California and the Pacific Northwest, where wildfires and water scarcity are big issues. “Growing up in those places instilled in us an ethos of real consciousness around place,” says Diana Birkett Rakow, the company’s SVP of public affairs and sustainability. That awareness has inspired a sustainability focus; its five-point plan to reach net-zero by 2040 includes a switch to sustainable aviation fuel, proposed electric-propulsion jets by the end of decade, and carbon offsets. With the clock ticking on other goals, like getting from 1% to 10% sustainable fuel by 2030, the airline is bolstering its efforts with both internal and external support. From the CEO down, 10% of every employee’s bonus opportunity is based on the airline’s performance in meeting its goals. Alaska has also found partners for its efforts initiatives, which include replacing plastic water bottles with Boxed Water cartons in flight, investing in manufacturer ZeroAvia to develop a hydroelectric power train, and even starting a venture fund to identify promising environmental startups. “We can’t change the system on our own,” Birkett Rakow says. “But we can bring partners together and take actions that help create a positive flywheel.” —Talib Visram Avocado Green Brands The bulk of discourse around mattresses in recent years has been whether it came from a store or a box, but Avocado has made its name as one of the first Climate Neutral-certified brands, offsetting more than the sum of its scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, and advocating for legislation that will help fight the climate crisis through its partnership with CERES and the American Sustainable Business Network. The brand in 2021 produced an eight-part podcast called A Little Green, that follows one of its execs, Christina Thompson, as she explores her impact on the environment, and how we can challenge the status quo and become climate leaders in our own communities. Sleep on that. Cloud Paper The bamboo-based toilet paper and paper towel brand is taking aim at global deforestation one wipe at a time. Backed by an impressive list of backers, including Marc Benioff, Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Oseary, CEO Hadi Partovi, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, NFL star Russell Wilson, and Ciara, the brand celebrated Earth Day 2021 with a fake campaign for a brand called Flush that told you which old growth forest you were wiping with. Dawn The P&G-owned brand has worked to design products to help people use less water and energy, but also be more accessible. Its Powerwash Dish Spray was designed to work on contact, without running the tap to create suds, helping households save up to 120 gallons of water per week, while the brand’s EZ-Squeeze bottle—one of Dawn’s most researched and tested products ever—is designed to dispense dishwashing liquid accurately with only one hand. Dawn also this year committed ​​to help protect and care for a million birds and marine mammals by 2030 through its partnerships with International Bird Rescue and the Marine Mammal Center. Greenwood When Greenwood launched in 2020, it drew attention for being the first digital bank with all Black founders—Ryan Glover, civil rights icon and former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, and rapper Killer Mike. Since then, the bank has focused on addressing racial inequities in the financial system. Greenwood acquired the Gathering Spot, which operates Black-focused networking and work space clubs in three cities. Glover says it has made Greenwood the country’s largest combined fintech and community platform for Black and minority consumers, reaching one million people. Greenwood is also building a content arm with digital shows, podcasts, and even name, image, and likeness deals. Indeed More than a job board, Indeed has made itself into a complete platform to better serve both job seekers and employers. Over the past year, the brand has launched Interview Days: Restaurant Jobs with OpenTable, a U.S. hiring initiative aimed to accelerate the recovery of the food and beverage industry by providing free hiring tools to help businesses and restaurateurs source, screen and host interviews. The Indeed Hiring Platform launched in 2022, and allows employers to manage and accelerate the hiring process—from posting through interview—directly on Indeed, with no additional software, all aiming to enable faster, more efficient access to a diverse pool of job seekers looking for the perfect fit. Kahoot Learning should be fun, and education platform Kahoot does just that with 40 million monthly participants, with a combination of content partners like Disney, NASA, and the World Health Organization. Last December, over 3,500 students participated in the European Interschool Kahoot, learning about the refugee and migrant experience and fostering inclusivity. And in April, Indiana-based teacher Stephen Auslander hosted the Kahoot! Cup, with more than 3,200 students from over 50 countries playing with the overall message, “We’re more alike than we’re different.” Lifewtr The brand wrapped its bottles in culture for its 2021 Life Unseen campaign, which worked with actor, writer and producer Issa Rae, who invited 20 diverse filmmakers, musicians, artists, and fashion designers to showcase their work on Lifwtr’s bottle labels. As part of the campaign, the brand also published an interactive tool that reveals the representation gaps that exist across the creative industry for women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, and people with disabilities. Mastercard The act of paying for something can be incredibly simple, but Mastercard has worked to expand that this past year with its new Touch Card for blind and partially sighted people, setting a new global standard for payment card design that enables people to tell, with a touch, which card they are holding. That inclusive product design builds on its work with True Name (to ensure the name on a person’s Mastercard reflects their true identity) which was also expanded globally to 30 European markets. Our Place While traditional kitchenware brands and stores feature hundreds of products, Our Place focuses on fewer, well-made products to minimize waste. Its Always Pan, for example, is designed to replace eight pieces of cookware. The immigrant- and female-founded brand reached full carbon neutrality this year. Pinterest In an effort to become a more inclusive platform, Pinterest spent the past year expanding its search capabilities in the beauty space for users with textured hair, and reining in ad content that could be harmful to users’ body image. Last August, Pinterest’s visual search team added a search mechanism to filter hair inspiration images based on pattern—including curly and coiled—and protective styles, like twists and braids. Similar to the skin tone search feature that the company released in 2018, this new AI-powered search tool can pinpoint and recognize hair patterns and surface the appropriate Pins. In the little more than a year since the feature launched, Pinterest has seen a significant increase in texture-specific search requests, including  “naturally wavy hair cuts with layers” and “protective hairstyles braids.” Pinterest also expanded its body neutrality initiative, amending its ad policy in July 2021 to ban all mentions of body mass index and weight loss, building on an earlier ban on ads for diet products, or featuring before-and-after imagery. One year later, the company self-reported a 20% decrease in “weight loss” searches and a trend away from activity related to diets. —Rachel Kim Raczka Plantega Bodegas are a way of life in New York City, and Plantega is a brand bringing plant-based food options to a much broader audience through the city’s network of shops. In 2021, it launched in 14 locations across four NYC boroughs, from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, to Jamaica, Queens, with a goal to bridge the gap between plant-based food manufacturers and independent corner stores, while helping spark a shift toward more sustainable eating. Vital Farms This is a brand that prides itself on the cruelty-free treatment of its hens to the sustainability of its supply chain, but also manages to turn those ideals into fun, compelling content. Its traceability initiative allows you to see a 360-degree video of the farm and the hens that laid your eggs, and in 2021, they took it a step further. Vital Farms built a custom, hen-friendly camera into a pasture where hens that lay the company’s eggs wander, to get a firsthand look at their daily life. The camera features a pressure-sensor platform that, when pecked or stepped on by a hen, sets off the shutter, producing black-and-white images of the hens’ surroundings, including vast pastures, their flock, and the family farmers who care for them. The photos were then featured in a national billboard campaign, as well as online and in a limited-edition coffee-table book. This article is part of Fast Company’s 2022 Brands That Matter awards. Explore the full list of brands whose success has come from embodying their purpose in a way that resonates with their customers.

GoGreenNation News: Fight Climate Change by Doing Less
GoGreenNation News: Fight Climate Change by Doing Less

Two weeks ago, I promised this newsletter would have more to say about the emotional sustainability of climate coverage and climate activism—which seems to be a theme of late. In the wake of the most recent U.N. climate report, for example, several prominent voices in the climate space have returned to the question of how to frame climate news optimistically, so that people don’t feel too overwhelmed.In a world where fossil fuel executives, meat megacorporations, and the like possess vastly more wealth and power than activists, tone probably isn’t the primary challenge in climate communication, as Kate Aronoff argued last week. At the same time, it’s true that sustainability continues to have the reputation of being a lot of work. And that’s a fascinating conundrum—because despite the plethora of popular articles promising five, 10, 12, 20, 22, 40, 58, or 101 ways to live more sustainably and fight climate change, a lot of the easy answers about how to live more sustainably involve doing less.Four years ago, climate writer Mary Annaïse Heglar penned a classic essay at Vox about being tired of people confessing their environmental sins to her. Too often, she wrote, people feel they need to “convert to 100 percent solar energy, ride an upcycled bike everywhere, stop flying, eat vegan,” or else they’re bad environmentalists. “And all this raises the price of admission to the climate movement to an exorbitant level, often pricing out people of color and other marginalized groups.” Personal action isn’t irrelevant in the fight for a livable future, she wrote, but it’s not the best place to focus one’s efforts, particularly if people then get overwhelmed and stop at the personal—neglecting to vote for robust climate policies because they’re so busy trying to find a place to recycle those pesky plastic bags. A lot of people clearly feel sustainable living means doing more: taking more time to sort recycling or buying special reusable containers, sourcing clothes from thrift shops or researching the most sustainable varieties of seafood. A lot of people also want guidance about how to live more sustainably (how to have a more sustainable yard, for example, was one question I recently heard raised in a meeting) but feel intimidated by the amount of work it might require (killing off your grass and installing a bunch of native plants is pretty daunting for nongardeners).But let’s take that sustainable yard question as a good case study. Sure, there’s a case for killing off your grass, planting a meadow of native plants, as The New York Times recently urged to ward off the insect apocalypse, or even adding a frog pond, as Emma Marris suggested at The Atlantic. But if you’re not ready or equipped to do that, there really is one easy trick to make your yard more sustainable: Do less. Mow it less frequently—the estimates on emissions from gas-powered lawn mowers vary, but all of them are staggering (greater than a car operating for an equivalent amount of time), and longer grass is more hospitable to insects and other wildlife anyway. Apply pesticides or herbicides less frequently—the runoff is terrible for watersheds (in fact, that might be an easier way to help amphibians than installing a frog pond). If you’re in a water-strapped part of the country, water it less frequently.Greater effort doesn’t necessarily mean greater environmental friendliness. This holds for so many other things as well, like clothes shopping. Donating your clothing or looking for sustainably produced labels has some serious limits, as recent reporting on the deluge of unused clothing donations and greenwashing of the fashion industry has shown. The real way to dress sustainably, as a growing number of experts acknowledge, is simply to buy less. The real way to make your commute more sustainable may not be to spend hours researching and then financing the latest e-bike, but to work less—by pushing for a four-day workweek, as Kate wrote about last year. You’d think that this would be a popular “solution” in a world where people are always bemoaning how little time they have, how little cash they have, how bad inflation has gotten. Yet “do less” isn’t always what people want to hear. Perhaps that’s because “do less” has a hint of austerity to it or because doing less may require swimming against the flow of a culture obsessed with aesthetics. Try doing or not doing anything remotely unorthodox with your lawn in a neighborhood with a neurotic homeowners’ association, and see how that goes. (Although, that being said, this Maryland couple sued those bougie troglodytes and won, so there’s hope.) Buying fewer clothes means ignoring the pressure to engage in competitive social signaling.Yet it’s worth remembering that it’s precisely this culture of aesthetics over substance that the corporations driving climate change have relied on again and again: by championing the idea of a personal “carbon footprint” in the first place, to make people feel guilty about their own lifestyles instead of questioning fossil fuel companies’ culpability; by marketing gas stoves as a lifestyle upgrade or plastics as convenient and more pleasant to use; by trend-churning to force seasonal purchases; and a multitude of other examples.If individual consumers are going to take on the task of fighting all this, perhaps the least they can do for themselves is—instead of adding 20 items to their to-do lists and shaming themselves for falling short—choose the path that saves them time and money, by rejecting the cult of aesthetics in the first place. There’s beauty in that too.Good NewsRenewable electricity generation surpassed coal in this country for the first time in 2022, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports. Bad NewsOver a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine catapulted heat pumps and home insulation to the top of the Western European political agenda—to save on winter fuel—an independent report has found that the United Kingdom only “stuttered further” in 2022 on its path to energy efficiency. The chair of the independent commission blamed insufficient funding and an overreliance on “low-stakes incremental changes” and called for bolder policies. “The risk of delay in addressing climate change,” he said, “is now greater than the risk of over-correction.”Stat of the WeekThat’s the degree to which stricter limits on fine-particulate-matter air pollution could reduce mortality rates among older Black and low-income people in the U.S, according to a new study. Read the New York Times write-up here.Elsewhere in the EcosystemThe Gospel of DisasterSlate has a pretty wild story this week about the Christian relief organizations that are stepping up to the plate to help communities recover from climate disasters when the Federal Emergency Management Agency fails to get the job done (unfortunately a frequent occurrence, due to persistent underfunding):The Christian relief organizations that have stepped in as first responders—with little oversight—are diverse, spanning from well-intentioned community churches with decades of goodwill to billion-dollar evangelical charities that use far-right outrage to fundraise and take advantage of disaster to spread their gospel.The overwhelming majority of these organizations’ on-the-ground volunteers serve out of genuine compassion. But some of the country’s largest disaster charities are helmed by far-right extremist leaders who encourage volunteers to make proselytization a main part of their mission, bragging in press releases about how many disaster victims “prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” For Samaritan’s Purse, that leader is president and CEO Franklin Graham, the evangelical titan who has called Islam a violent religion, compared trans people with pedophiles, and praised Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay policies, saying LGBT people will burn in “the flames of hell.”Read Nick Aspinwall’s story at Slate.This article first appeared in Apocalypse Soon, a weekly TNR newsletter authored by deputy editor Heather Souvaine Horn. Sign up here.

Join us to forge
a sustainable future

Our team is always growing.
Become a partner, volunteer, sponsor, or intern today.
Let us know how you would like to get involved!