10 Ways to Spot an Eco-Friendly Company

Are you an individual specialist or a collaborative generalist?  For the specialist, finding that company, industry, or mission you feel personally connected to can be the difference between love and hate when it comes to career satisfaction. Individual specialists (we call this approach “Subjective”) can make amazing advocates for the causes they feel passionate about. More than ever, a cause on many peoples’s minds is protecting the environment and reversing climate change. 

Not everyone has the aptitudes or appetite for full-time environmental advocacy work, but there are still ways to make sure your career—whether it’s in marketing, IT, human resources, finance, or engineering—aligns with your passion. One of the most direct paths is to target employers who are as environmentally friendly as you are.  

Here are ten signs to look for when you’re vetting an organization:

 

1. The company’s product or service benefits the environment or has a positive social impact. 

This one is a no-brainer. A company producing biodegradable cleaning products, for example, is likely to make environmental matters a top priority. 

 

2. They’ve reduced their carbon footprint and waste. 

Some of the companies making the biggest strides here might surprise you. Global corporations who made the top ten in a list of the 100 most sustainable corporations of 2020 include Neste, an oil refiner; Cisco, a tech conglomerate; and Autodesk, a software group. All three companies drastically reduced their carbon footprints and converted to renewable energy sources. 

 

3. They engage in ethical sourcing and labor practices. 

Ethical sourcing means that materials and products pulled from other countries have been produced or procured in a way that does not exploit the local labor or damage the environment. Does a company have a supplier code of conduct in place? If they do, it could be an indicator that they're taking steps to source more ethically.

 

4. They’re affiliated with known eco-friendly organizations or nonprofits.

If a reputable environmental organization has signed on to collaborate with a business, they’ve likely done the vetting for you. There are many lists of the most impactful eco-nonprofits, but you can also refer to resources like Charity Navigator for more information about the organizations reach and work. 

 

5. They issue a sustainability or corporate responsibility report. 

In 2018, 86% of S&P Index companies issued reports updating the public and their shareholders about the environmental, social, and economic impact of their activities.

 

6. They donate a percentage of profits to environmental causes. 

This can look like anything from a small company donating a percentage of sales to a local organization to larger corporations which might have designated corporate philanthropy departments.

 

7. They’ve earned accolades or awards for their eco-friendly initiatives. 

Some “Green” awards are more legitimate than others, so a good way to suss out the real ones is to look at the organization that presents them. Charity Navigator or lists like this one from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies can give you some insight.

 

8. Their executive pay is linked to sustainability measures. 

While companies have long tied management compensation to profit or growth, the push to connect pay with sustainability targets is expanding. 63% of the 100 most sustainable global companies have these type of compensation structures.

 

9. They have high marks from ratings firms. 

Just like you have an individual credit score determined by companies like Experian, there are now several firms that examine and rate corporate ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) scores. These scales typically go from 1-100.

 

10. They’re transparent about their business practices.

Companies with strong track records of sustainable practices are likely broadcasting their efforts in this area to cater to the demand for more sustainable products and build trust with their customers.  If a company is hiding information about their supply chain or other business practices, it’s probably not good news for the eco-minded employee.

 

Our founder, Johnson O’Connor, often said to look for a problem to solve, rather than a job title. Climate change may be one of the biggest problems of our time; You’re sure to find plenty of opportunities to help solve it.