Sustainability Sells: The Top Five Eco-Friendly Companies to Watch in 2020

Sustainability Sells: The Top Five Eco-Friendly Companies to Watch in 2020

The world is Greta and the future is green, with eco-friendly companies increasingly the norm – not the exception. A study from Cone Communications shows that Gen Z accounts for 40% of global consumers in 2020, with 94% of them believing that it’s important companies address urgent social and environmental issues. A 2019 survey led by Hotwire even found that 47% of internet users worldwide had ditched products and services from a brand that violated their personal values – protecting the environment topped that list.

With the public becoming ever more partial to products and companies who meet these eco-conscious minimum requirements, the US sustainability market – already with many impressive eco-friendly companies – is projected to reach $150 billion in sales by 2021, according to Nielsen. And it’s not just the US. Look at Germany, which has the highest rates of recycling in the world, with one out of five of the country’s voters voting for the Green Party in last year’s European elections. Another example: Neonyt, the world’s first sustainable fashion show happens in Berlin every year.

It’s clear the potential for sustainable companies is huge, with creativity and innovation across sectors thriving – from fighting food waste, to renewable electricity, mobility and long-lasting consumer electronics. We picked five companies to have one or two eyes on this year.

Sustainability for marketers is the theme of our next SCALEup meetup. Find out more & register here:

Too Good To Go (Denmark)

Behind China and the US, the third biggest greenhouse gas emitter is a fake country: “Globally, if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the US,” says the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “The resources needed to produce the food that becomes lost or wasted has a carbon footprint of about 3.3 billion tons of CO2.” Including resources like land, water and labour, it’s a scarily mighty statistic.

That’s where Too Good To Go comes in, with their ‘magic bags’. Launched in 2016 in Copenhagen and now with 12 offices worldwide, the startup scoops up the still edible food that stores, restaurants and bakeries throw out at the end of the day. Too Good To Go subscribers then, after paying a reduced retail price, then receive these so-called “magic bags” in the mail. And the numbers show the public is responding, with 21.2 million app users and 42,616 participating. Even more exciting? You don’t know what you are getting until your delicious delivery arrives.

Co-founder Mette Lykke still leads the charge as CEO and has put education at the forefront of what they do, even with a team who create educational materials on all things sustainability for schools. Avada Foodiosis

allplants (UK)

It’s not just about food waste, but also the type of food you are munching on. Make no mistake, it’s a good wellbeing decision: a healthier body mass index (BMI), lower chances of obesity, diabetes and heart disease are all benefits! But a plant-based diet is better for the environment writ large too, with a quarter of all emissions being due to food production – with animal-based foods to blame for half of that.

As transparent as they come, allplants, a meal delivery and subscription service, offers the chance to try out a plant-based diet. A whole host of plant-powered and planet-kind frozen dishes are available to order, which come in recyclable, compostable and/or reusable packaging and are then delivered straight to your door by the startup’s carbon-neutral delivery partner. 

They’re a member of the B-Corps – that’s certified B Corporations for you – a movement which certifies eco-friendly companies with a stamp: a seal which verifies the recipient as meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. On top of that, when you buy an allplants box, a tree is planted with their partner WeForest – meaning you’re giving back in more ways than one.

Expansion of all stripes is incoming. Recently endowed with a £2 million funding round in February, CEO Jonathan Petrides has admitted they’re looking to expand into new food categories and markets over the next five years.

OVO energy (UK)

As sustainable as you want to go, your activities will at some point still release carbon emissions. That’s why you need to start making changes wherever you can – starting with your energy bill. OVO energy, a renewable energy provider, was launched in 2009 and has nearly five million customers in the UK, after buying rival SSE’s energy business just recently in January.

They offer a staggering array of services across its overarching carbon-cutting initiative ‘Plan Zero’, starting with their flexible, clean energy technology for homes. Users can choose between 50% or 100% renewable electricity tariffs and it’s also possible to get a smart meter tariff, with customers offered 100% carbon neutral gas.

There’s more, with a host of smart technology for the future, from smart electric storage heaters to electric vehicle chargers which charge your car in a reverse of surge pricing when electricity is in less demand and thus cheaper. In the UK at least (for now), the future is OVO. 

TIER Mobility (Germany)

The scooter market is booming as countries across the world undergo a transport revolution, with lots of eco-friendly companies appearing in this sector. And here’s one leading the charge a lil’ closer to home. TIER Mobility was founded in our home city of Berlin in November 2019 and now operates a fleet of 20,000 scooters across 55 cities in 11 countries.

As a fully climate-neutral offering, TIER are committed to reducing all the emissions coming from using one of their scooters, including charging, production, operational and transportation emissions. And if you want something faster, you’re in luck: TIER claim to be the first European micro-mobility provider to be multimodal, having sCOUPed up 5000 motor scooters – and all their charging systems – from sadly departed rival COUP late last year.

Look out for TIER in more markets soon, with CEO Lawrence Leuschner confirming they will be investing in further geographical expansion and technology.

BuyMeOnce (UK)

With regards to consumer goods, sustainability was hitherto never number one. The desire for the newest things has led to the rise of throwaway culture, affecting everything from homeware to fashion. Eco-friendly companies in this field were, until recently, few and far between.

Buy Me Once, founded in 2016 by former ad executive Tara Button, is an online shopping website that tackles this issue head-on. After receiving a Le Creuset cooking pot, Tara was impressed by its durability and design in comparison to other things she had bought, goods which broke quicker than expected. And she realised that it wasn’t complicated to be environmentally conscious whilst you shop. It’s about buying products that last.

Enter Buy Me Once, which makes products that meet high production standards as well as ethical ones, but also offers products with a so-called “timeless” look. Selling everything from homeware, to electrical goods and fashion, the UK-launched company has a big presence in the US, where it also produces all of its goods.

Tara is a tireless campaigner aside from her main business, recently campaigning for a law which would make it a requirement for manufacturers to list the lifespan on their products. And if you need any ideas for your day to day, she published A Life Less Throwaway in 2018, where Button discussed “mindful curation”. In her own words, it’s all about making your life beautiful, but mindfully so.

Fancy making the future of the planet brighter by reaching a wider audience with your product? Let’s chat!

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