April 15, 2024

Green Mountain Energy Blog: 5 Ways to Tell If a Business Is Sustainable

In recent years, sustainability has been gaining momentum as the need to minimize environmental impact grows. People are demanding better for their households and looking to support companies that are making sustainable business practices a priority.

In 2021, a study conducted across 24 countries discovered that 58% of adults are more mindful of their impact on the environment and are willing and ready to take action to fight against climate change.¹

At Green Mountain Energy, sustainability is at the core of everything we do. We’ve been pursuing carbon neutrality, aiding nonprofits in sustainable practices and helping customers lead eco-friendly lifestyles for more than 25 years. And now that more companies are realizing the importance of implementing greener measures in their day-to-day operations, there are certain criteria that can help you identify just how sustainable they truly are.

Check out five questions to ask yourself when determining if a company is the right sustainable fit for you.

1. Are they working towards carbon neutrality?

There are many ways for a company to reduce its carbon impact. But first things first: Every company should start by measuring its carbon emissions and identifying where it can make reductions.

What to look for: Companies can buy carbon offsets to balance the emissions produced from everyday activities. Carbon offsets are investments in projects that reduce or remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from the environment. Those projects can range from energy efficiency to methane capture to reforestation and more. Today, companies are including sustainability reports on their websites where customers can see the unique efforts they’re making toward reducing their impact.

What we do: As a carbon-neutral company, we’re always working to reduce the emissions of our daily business operations. We measure everything we can in our business, including office energy usage, paper use, our employees’ commutes, corporate air travel and more. What we can’t reduce or eliminate, we offset by purchasing carbon offsets to get us to carbon neutral.

2. Are they walking the talk?

For sustainability-minded folks, business dealings are more than just transactional. We want to partner with companies who share our core beliefs and values.

What to look for: One way that a company can prove its commitment to sustainability best practices is to become a Certified B Corporation. A Certified B Corp meets the highest standards of both social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. They are companies that value people and the planet by reinvesting in their communities.

What we do: Through our charitable program, Sun Club®, we help communities become more sustainable by funding projects for local nonprofits. Some of our Sun Club projects include outdoor agricultural and farming programs, enhancing green spaces in urban communities, building hydroponic farms that focus on water systems and urbanization along with protecting marine and wildlife. We even make a regular donation to Sun Club on behalf of customers who are enrolled in specific plans.

3. Are they mindful of their energy use?

According to the National Wildlife Federation, we spend $1 billion on foreign oil each day in the United States. The more we decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, the better equipped we are to fight climate change and alleviate the dangers it poses to our ecosystems.

What to look for: Companies that are lowering their carbon footprint by powering their businesses with a 100% renewable wind or solar energy plan. Simply put, using clean energy is one of the most impactful ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuels.

What we do: Since 1997, we’ve been dedicated to changing the way power is made through offering 100% wind and solar energy plans for homes and businesses. Not only do we provide clean energy to our customers, we also power our corporate headquarters with 100% clean electricity. Our products are sourced from high-quality solar and wind farms that are independently audited every year, ensuring our customers are powering their lives with 100% clean energy.

4. Are they engaging with green technology?

Investing in green tech is another way that a company can show its commitment to sustainability.

What to look for: Using green technology to create environmentally friendly products and services is essential in establishing an environment that is low-carbon and sustainable. It could be as simple as tracking impact through smart thermostats to swapping gas-powered company cars with electric vehicles. Check out a company’s mission statement to see if it’s pursuing sustainability. And don’t be afraid to reach out to see if it’s making good on those promises.

What we do: As a clean energy provider, we support the development of renewable energy technologies like solar panels, wind turbines and electrical vehicles by offering plans that support customers who invest in green tech. Our 100% renewable energy plans give commercial customers a competitive green advantage to help demonstrate their commitment to corporate sustainability. Our residential customers can enjoy plans like the Pollution Free™ with Google Nest Thermostat, as an easy way to keep track of energy consumption and stay efficient with a smart thermostat and sensor. We also offer 100% clean electricity plans for EV drivers like the Solar All Nighter for EVs with lower prices at night.

5. Do they offer sustainable ways to be their customers?

Companies are investing in eco-friendly measures and innovative ways to stay competitive as the demand grows for more eco-friendly products and services. They’re offering everything from recycling and waste reduction programs to sustainable products.

What to look for: Some companies have recycling kiosks to help consumers get rid of unwanted electronics or bins set up to collect plastic and glass cans. Others may take a more innovative approach and develop products from sustainable materials. Patagonia is a great example of a company that built its brand around sustainability. Protecting the planet is ingrained into their core values. Along with producing products made with sustainable material, it also has a repair and reuse program that allows customers to extend the life of their products.

What we do: In addition to providing clean energy solutions and environmentally friendly tips, we offer green tools that help our customers take action in reducing their carbon footprint. They can track their personal carbon impact through the Green Mountain App or conserve energy and access sustainable backup power through our conservation and preparedness program. No matter where they are in their sustainability walk, we have the products and tools to help.

The health and safety of the planet is a responsibility we all share. Join us on our journey to building a cleaner tomorrow by signing up for a clean electricity plan, donating to Sun Club, driving clean with an EV, or buying carbon offsets to reduce your carbon footprint.

¹Article: Consumer passion for the environment grows as a result of the pandemic | Mastercard Newsroom

5 Ways to Tell If a Business Is Sustainable.