On Monday, April 22, 2019, corporations worldwide will encourage employees to celebrate Earth Day by participating in activities like neighbourhood or beach clean-ups, planting trees, or biking/walking to work. While the one-day enthusiasm to care for our planet certainly helps, to make a real difference, companies have to incorporate sustainability into their everyday operations. Here are a few businesses that are making an impact beyond Earth Day –
US-based Apple Inc., which boasts an “unwavering mission to change the world,” has adopted several green initiatives to reduce its impact on Earth. In 2017, to stop the over-mining of rare natural materials such as gold and tungsten used in its smartphones and computers, Apple made a commitment to obtain the rare metals through recycling older devices. The technology company is also looking at ways to make its devices 100 percent recycled. “We’re moving toward a closed-loop supply chain. One day we’d like to be able to build new products with just recycled materials, including your old products,” Apple said in its annual environment report. In 2018, the smart device maker announced that all its operations, spanning 43 countries, were being run using 100% renewable energy — either solar or wind.
On this year’s Earth Day, the Alibaba Group has taken up several initiatives to improve the planet over the past 12 months.
Alibaba’s Clean Water Source campaign
Water is a precious natural resource. One of Alibaba Foundation’s key funding aspects is water protection. The Foundation launched the “Clean Water Source Campaign” in 2012 to sponsor the river conservation work of not-for-profit environmental organizations. In 2018, it sponsored more than 20 projects and the campaign is now covering 1,312 rivers in 389 cities across China.
Over the years, Alibaba Group has embraced sustainable development. The Group has been working with enterprises, partners and users to implement environmentally sustainable programs across various sectors. Here are updates of the Group’s other green initiatives,
Environmental awareness of 35 million people
The education program from Alibaba Foundation reached a total of 35 million members of the public in 2018. One of its highlights was the partnership in Wuhan. The Foundation worked with various government organizations in the city to conduct nature education programs for 350,000 primary and secondary students in 150 schools. The curriculum combined online and offline, and outdoor activities, as well as green carnivals and was popular in schools.
Green Map reaching 700 million users
In 2018, The Center of Environmental Education of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Alibaba Foundation and Amap jointly launched the “Act Towards a Beautiful China” online platform. One of the features of the platform – Green Map – has reached 700 million users since activated on Amap. The Green Map leverages Amap’s location-based service to provide environmental information at the users’ fingertips.
Amap provides mapping, navigation and LBS to users is China and is the country’s leading map solution.
Smart logistics by Cainiao
Alibaba Group’s logistics arm, Cainiao, has already initiated a comprehensive program to improve material recycling, packaging, route planning and delivery methods to work toward a greener future. Cainiao’s unique packaging algorithm has helped to reduce sizes of 500 million parcels. More than 5,000 recycle stations have been established in 200 cities in China.
Planting 100 million trees
As of April 2019, Alipay Ant Forest, a green initiative by Alibaba’s related company Ant Financial, has 500 million users and planted 100 million real trees. The total tree-planting area nearly reached 933 square kilometres.
Alipay Ant Forest promotes a greener lifestyle and encourages low-carbon activities. Such behaviour is counted and converted into virtual “green energy” in the Alipay app and can be used to grow a virtual tree. With enough energy points, the virtual tree can be converted into a real tree and planted in the remote areas in China by Alipay Ant Forest and its philanthropy partners. Here’s a video explaining how it works.
0.3% revenue for Philanthropy
In 2010, Alibaba announced it would set aside 0.3% of its annual revenue for philanthropy. The commitment is fundamental to Alibaba’s social responsibility initiatives. Building on them, the Alibaba Foundation was established in 2011.
TO THE NEW
TO THE NEW, one of the fastest growing digital technology companies continues to drive its Social Impact mission with yet another Go-Green initiative under the aegis of Pahal – its CSR wing. The company is set to conduct a tree plantation drive on 27th April 2019 in association with Tender Heart, a non-governmental organization working on the provisions of social & educational opportunities for underprivileged. TO THE NEW will be planting around 100+ trees in The Shriram Millennium School, Sector 135, Noida.
In a bid to align the company’s values with the greater good, TO THE NEW takes Social impact initiatives every month envisioned to bring a positive change in human lives. The company has been taking a series of initiatives to contribute to the society & environment – from tree plantation and blood donation drives to necessary donations against natural disasters, the company is also helping underprivileged with rural educational initiatives and various other donation programmes.
Commenting on the same, Deepak Mittal, CEO, TO THE NEW said, “We are optimistic that everyone can make a difference through small yet impactful initiatives. With continuous efforts of our dedicated Social Impact wing- Pahal, we aim to build a strong community with safer and healthier lives for all. We encourage our team to invest their significant time & efforts towards building a better tomorrow with Pahal.”
TO THE NEW has adopted a comprehensive Social Impact policy outlining programmes for the betterment and welfare of the society. The foundation of the company is the core philosophy of building real-time societal values that form sustainable and inclusive growth for the company.
As part of Ingersoll Rand’s recognition of Earth Day 2019, employees of Ingersoll Rand India participated in a tree plantation activity across India to demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability. Ingersoll Rand employees in India joined their hands to plant trees with an aim to support the environmental movement and help reduce the impact of climate change.
Globally, Ingersoll Rand and its 49,000 employees throughout the week, committed to make changes towards a healthier and more sustainable world and encouraging others to do the same. At sites across the globe, Green Teams are leading earth-friendly efforts like reducing office supplies use, eliminating single-use plastics (straws and utensils), reducing or eliminating junk mail, removing trash bins at desks to encourage less paper, and using rechargeable batteries.
This year the theme at Ingersoll Rand is centered on ‘Small Changes that Make a Big Impact’. Through this campaign, employees are coming forward and volunteering to improve the environmental impact. Actions like using their own water bottles to stay hydrated, bringing their own canvas or synthetic reusable shopping bags, using cold water when washing clothes and shutting off lights or electronics when not needed to conserve energy and electricity.
“Sustainability is core to who we are and every day is considered Earth Day at Ingersoll Rand,” said Geetanjali Bhatia, Head, Corporate Communications & CSR, Ingersoll Rand in India. “We know that small environmental actions made consistently over a period of time, and when joined together as a group of 49,000, can make a considerable impact on our world.”
To further demonstrate how small changes can make big impacts, Ingersoll Rand is partnering with SolarBuddy to donate and help assemble 3,000 lights that will be distributed to children in energy poverty regions throughout the year. SolarBuddy provides access to electricity with a safe, reliable, effective, innovative solar light to use after dusk. The lights are specifically designed for children to use – easy to operate, carry and charge on their backs as they walk to and from school, which can sometimes be up to 10 kilometers. The lights will be shipped to Tanzania, Dominican Republic, India and South Africa.
SolarBuddy provides access to electricity with a safe, reliable, effective, innovative solar light to use after dusk.