Corporate Environmental Champions

Green corporate identities are becoming a feature of the new business environment. They tend to be individualists, but they have a significant impact on others. This is teaching by example, and the real innovators of the environmental movement have developed methodologies which have spread around the world. With the concepts theyve developed, environmental impacts have been drastically reduced, and new design models have revolutionized the whole concept of industrial production.

Ben Cohen

Ben Cohen was the founder of Ben and Jerrys, an ice cream business in Burlington, Vermont which began in the 1970s. Cohens idea for ice cream was driven by two factors: A need for flavour, and a concept of sourcing natural raw materials. The result was a runaway success, based on natural flavours and a strongly sustainable business model.

It was also a blow for real food. Modern ice cream is a combination of materials which include a lot of artificial materials, and is expensive to make, as well as an inferior quality product. Many dieticians have expressed the view that the human metabolism is designed to eat real organic foods, not artificial materials, and Ben and Jerrys proved by its success what people wanted. The business was taken over by the giant US food manufacturer Unilever, which maintained the concept. It was a major success in terms of identifying the relationship between sustainable products and commercial best practice in the food industry.

Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick is the founder of The Body Shop. This business began as part of a quasi-entrepreneurial, sole trader home business which Roddick describes as a combination of economic necessity and inspiration from her travels around the world experiencing different cultures. From that combination was born a synthesis of natural products and good business practice.

Roddicks business idea, based on natural materials, has become one of the great success stories of modern business. From a small beginning to over 1000 outlets around the world, the Body Shop is the upmarket model of environmental consumerism.

Ray Anderson

Ray Anderson of Interface Inc. is a highly acclaimed environmental industrialist. He was originally a conventional carpet manufacturer running a business hed started himself in 1973. He had what he describes as a spear in the chest revelation reading Paul Hawkens 1993 classic sustainability-themed book The Ecology of Commerce. This was the inspiration for a major change in methodologies in an industry which was highly environmentally unfriendly, using lots of petrol products and producing large amounts of waste.

InterfaceFLOR, which has pioneered sustainable carpets and the famous modular carpet tiles used around the world, has worked for over a decade on Mission Zero, the target of eliminating all negative impacts of Interface products on the environment by 2020. The change in production methodologies has resulted in major efficiencies. Interface has succeeded so far in creating a large range of sustainable technologies and producing a long list of cost benefits. Interface has identified cumulative savings of $ 433 million US in avoided costs alone, in the period 1995- 2010. Greenhouse gas emissions have been cut by 82%, and water usage cut by 75%.

Interface is now a market leader, and has rewritten the whole concept of manufacturing in the industry. {pixabay|100|campaign}