Corporations are destroying the planet and contributing to climate change.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Let's face the hard truth: Corporations are one of the largest drives behind climate change. But which types of corporations are most responsible and how can we optimistic about systemic change?
Here’s what we’ll cover step-by-step:
Corporations are responsible for the majority of our carbon emissions and it's now important more than ever to hold them accountable for their impacts.
🎯 Action step 1 of 4: READ — Let's start by looking at a few articles together.
Corporations waste a lot because it keeps costs low (for them). If you're feeling a little stir-crazy, we're right here to talk trash about these companies with you!
We're focusing on greenhouse gases (GHGs) and plastic, because reducing GHGs is so key to fighting climate change and minimizing plastic can offset irreversible damage to humans and animals.
Greenhouse gas emissions (click me to learn more)
Plastic waste (read me if you can't get enough)
Here are the top three things that make us optimistic about our systemic change battle:
Let's keep this momentum going!
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 1 of 4: READ.
🎯 Action step 2 of 4: LISTEN — we'll watch a short video or listen to a podcast to further expand on our topic.
This brilliant YouTube video called "The Story of Bottled Water" is by The Story of Stuff Project. We love this video because it's well-narrated, has super fun animations, AND includes actions you can take at the end that go beyond only drinking tap water. We really, really love the simple explanation on how corporations play us, using bottled water as an example.
Here are five highlights:
On a brighter note—Bottled water sales are dropping! Woohoo!
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 2 of 4: LISTEN.
🎯 Action step 3 of 4: ACT — Now it's time to do something. Let's go!
We've assembled THREE ways you can make a difference via the corporate route. We mean this whether or not you actually work for a corporation.
1. Tell IT to make Ecosia your default search engine.
You can even just tell your team. Ecosia.org is a browser extension that plants trees where they're needed the most. Their financials are transparent, their servers run on 100% renewable energy, and they don't sell your data to advertisers. You're already searching—now, you can do it better. If you work for a small or mid-sized company, you can get EVERYONE on Ecosia by shooting an email to HR or IT. If you work for a massive corporation, share it on your internal feed and get your teammates on it!
2. Know your supply.
According to CDP, the organization that tackles environmental risks throughout the supply chain, "for the average company, the environmental impact of your supply chain is many times that of your own operations." Get your company to understand its supply chain and where they can reduce emissions - the impacts of a more renewable supply chain are HUGE. Just send this link to whoever is in charge of sustainability at your company. (Hint: if you're at a teeny company, that could be you. If you're at a larger company, you can contact your corporate social responsibility colleague(s) and use this email we drafted for you. All you have to do is fill out the contact and hit send.)
3. Get your building on renewable energy.
We're going to modify this one for something we've actually done through a massive corporate goose chase. Our founder, Nivi learned she had a Director of Sustainability at her previous company. He told her a LOT about their renewable energy efforts and how her corporation is actually doing well when it comes to carbon neutrality. Another easy modification to get started is to read about different types of building renewable power here via Sunpower and forward this link to your building manager.
When you choose an action, you're one step closer to taking down these bad guys.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 3 of 4: ACT.
Before we go any further, it's time for you to pledge your commitment. It takes less than 30 seconds to pledge and we can bother you about it in a friendly way, so we can hold each other accountable. Pledge here!
🎯 Action step 4 of 4: REFLECT — what can you commit to? What fresh perspectives can we look at?
We don't mean actual clouds. We mean clouds that store data! In fact, WIRED put together a report of which company has the greenest cloud.
Q: Why is this important?
A: When your data gets stored on the cloud, it doesn't just evaporate. It lives in physical data centers. "According to the Department of Energy, data centers account for about 2 percent of all electricity use in the US." It's a big chunk!
Q: What makes a cloud green?
A: Algae water. Just kidding. "The efficiency of a data center's infrastructure (lights, cooling, and so on), the efficiency of its servers, and the source of its electricity" are three metrics to assess how "green" a cloud is.
Q: What's the good news???
A: In 2017, Google announced "it achieved 100 percent renewable energy across all of its operations, including its data centers"! Microsoft has increased its renewable energy portfolio by ~60% over the past year!
Q: What's the bad news?
A: Well, Amazon. (They got an "F" for transparency on their report card.) Also, Google and Microsoft are BOTH courting the fossil fuel industry. Do they know they... don't need to do that?
Our final action tip: do your best to "divest" from Amazon—whether that's convincing your employer to stop using AWS, canceling your Prime membership (which I ashamedly still must do), not shopping at Whole Foods, or simply ordering less from Amazon. It goes a long way for the environment, for being an anti-racist ally, and for justice.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 4 of 4: REFLECT.
Check out our membership community for more resources like free weekly events with social justice experts, sustainable product discounts, pre-written email templates, a social impact job board, and in-person hangouts with new friends. Thanks for taking action with Soapbox Project!
Get our free bite-sized climate action plans before you go!