Top 10 Most Sustainable Companies in the Northeast

Just Energy is one of the leading green energy providers in North America; through our customers and our own practices, we’ve offset more than 3.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions. We decided to take a look around the Northeast to find other businesses that are leading the way in corporate sustainability.

These 10 organizations go above and beyond for the environment. Each one sets and announces attainable goals to become a more environmentally sustainable company and has made great strides to reach those goals.

  1. Staples—Framingham, MA
    While office supplies might not scream green, Staples is actually one of the nation’s leading green companies. The company was early to the sustainability game, beginning with a partnership with ENERGY STAR in 1999. Today Staples continues to strive toward environmentally friendly goals. Here are some of the company’s current initiatives.
    • Staples has a goal to achieve ENERGY STAR certification for 50 percent of its buildings by 2020. In June 2013, the company announced its 500th ENERGY STAR certified building—out of 1,800 stores.
    • By 2015 the company plans to improve the fuel economy of its vehicle fleet by 15 percent. Staples is already well on its way thanks to 53 electric vehicles that replaced emission-fuming diesel trucks.
    • Staples generates more than 50 million kWh of renewable energy through its own solar panels—it owns 37 solar arrays. The company purchases renewable energy certificates to offset any additional energy it needs.
  2. Johnson & Johnson—New Brunswick, NJ
    Although personal grooming products and healthcare are top of mind when it comes to Johnson & Johnson, we can’t overlook how green the company is. Johnson & Johnson has been positively impacting the planet through more than 30 years of environmental goals. Here are some of the highlights from its most recent initiatives.
    • The company set a goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 20% by 2020. At the end of 2013 the company had achieved a 5.7% reduction.
    • It also intends to increase on-site renewables by 50 MW by 2015. By the end of 2013, the company had 47.6 MW installed or in progress.
    • Johnson & Johnson is well on its way to decreasing emissions 20 percent, its goal by 2015. Between 2010 and 2013 the company reduced CO2 emissions 15 percent in its fleet, largely from the increased use of hybrid vehicles.
  3. Unilever—Englewood Cliffs, NJ
    With more than 400 brands, including Lipton, Dove and Knorr, Unilever seems to have its hand in everything. Sustainability initiatives are no different. Check out some of the key things the company is doing for the environment.
    • Unilever has a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2020. The company has implemented a number of initiatives to reach the goal, including improving its manufacturing process. Since 2008 the company has reduced its emissions from manufacturing 32 percent for every tonne of production.
    • From black tea to tomatoes, the company purchases a lot of agricultural products. Unilever has set a goal to source 100 percent of agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020. By the end of 2013, Unilever sourced 48 percent sustainably.
    • Since 2010 the company has reduced packaging waste 11 percent. That’s no small feat when you consider that Unilever purchases more than 2.4 million tons of packaging annually.
  4. Ikea—Conshohocken, PA
    Although Ikea is technically headquartered in The Netherlands, its U.S. headquarters is just outside Philadelphia in the borough of Conshohocken. While the company is working to reduce its impact globally, it’s also considered a leader for its sustainability efforts in the United States.
    • Ikea has a lofty goal to use 100 percent renewable energy for all of its U.S. locations by 2020. So far the company has installed solar panels at 39 of its 44 U.S. locations.
    • In April 2014 the company announced its first wind farm investment. Ikea will purchase 98 megawatts of clean power from a wind farm in Hoopeston, Illinois. The project should come online in 2015.
    • Ikea also has a huge recycling effort. In 2013, the company was able to recycle 35,185 tons of waste across the United States—that’s the equivalent of saving more than 326,000 trees.
  5. United Natural Foods Inc.—Providence, RI
    As one of the nation’s leading distributers of organic, natural specialty foods and supplements, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that United Natural Foods Inc. made the list. The company is all about the health and wellness of people and the planet. Check out some of the advances UNFI is making.
    • Despite its already light environmental footprint, UNFI has committed to reducing its carbon emissions 5 percent from 2009 levels by the end of 2015.
    • Part of its strategy to reach that goal is to reduce emissions related to its vehicles, which cause the majority of the company’s greenhouse gas emissions. In 2013, the UNFI improved fleet efficiency 1.9 percent, saving more than 98,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
    • In 2012, the company produced 3 million kWh of renewable energy with its own solar panels, located at four facilities. That’s enough to power 285 homes for a year and eliminate more than 2.2 million pounds of burned coal.
  6. MetLife—New York, NY
    As an insurance company, it makes since that MetLife would invest in the environment. After all, sustainability efforts help ensure that the planet is around for generations to come. Take a look at some of MetLife’s recent initiatives to help keep the Earth green.
    • In 2005, MetLife set a goal to reduce its indirect carbon emissions 20 percent by 2010. The company exceeded its goal early in 2009, but it didn’t stop there. By 2011, MetLife reduced its emissions 60 percent.
    • MetLife has a number of recycling and reuse initiatives that help limit its overall carbon footprint. In 2012, the company recycled 1,429 metric tonnes of waste—more than half of all the waste the company produced.
    • MetLife has partnered with the Trust for Public Land since 1996 to bring parks and outdoor space to lower income neighborhoods in 16 cities. So far it has provided more than $6.1 million in grants.
  7. Capital One—McLean, VA
    We must give credit where credit is due; Capital One is making great strides toward its sustainability goals. Here are the highlights the environment can bank on.
    • In 2008 Capital One established an Environmental Sustainability Office with a group of employees dedicated to the company’s environmental efforts. This team is responsible for managing greenhouse gas reduction strategies and goals, developing sustainability measurement systems and promoting eco-friendly activities.
    • To reduce its emissions Capital One purchased 33,220 MWh of green energy in 2012—enough to power 3,151 homes for a year.
    • In 2009 the company committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent by the end of 2014. It’s well on its way to reaching this goal thanks to a number of initiatives such as green renovations. At the end of 2011, more than one third of the company’s facilities were certified as green buildings by third parties such as LEED.
  8. Raytheon—Waltham, MA
    The technology industry isn’t exactly known for being green, but Raytheon turns that stereotype on its head. Although it builds energy-intensive missiles, precision weapons and complex communications systems, it has found a number of ways to reduce its impact.
    • Raytheon intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2015 from its 2008 baseline. At the end of 2012, the company had already achieved a 21 percent reduction.
    • Since 2008, the company reduced energy consumption 11 percent. Not only has this exceeded its 10 percent reduction goal, it has saved the company $28 million.
    • Raytheon also reduced waste 41 percent between 2008 and 2012, far exceeding the company’s goal to reduce waste 35 percent by 2015.
  9. McCormick—Sparks, MD
    McCormick is spicing up its corporate sustainability efforts. The company plans to make big changes to its environmental impact by 2018.
    • One of McCormick’s goals is to reduce its electricity consumption 20 percent. At the end of 2012, the company had already cut electric use 8 percent by upgrading its lighting and air conditioning systems.
    • McCormick is actively working to reduce its solid waste. The company plans to cut waste 50 percent by 2018 and was already more than halfway there by 2012 with a 34 percent reduction.
    • The company’s distribution center in Belcamp, Maryland, is energy positive. With a 1.8 MW solar energy system, the building creates more energy than it uses. In a year’s time, the array generated a surplus of more than 16,000 kWh—enough extra energy to power 1.5 homes for an entire year.
  10. EMC—Hopkinton, MA 
    As an information technology and cloud computing enterprise, EMC isn’t top of mind when it comes to all things green. However, through facility upgrades and energy efficiency goals, the company is quickly rising through the ranks as one of the nation’s leading companies for environmental sustainability.
    • The company set a goal to reduce emissions per revenue 40 percent from a 2005 baseline by 2015. The company’s initiatives have been so successful that it surpassed its goal in 2012.
    • EMC plans to get 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2040. In 2012, the company purchased 175,000 MWh worth of renewable energy credits—enough to power about 30 percent of all EMC facilities in the United States.
    • The company has been working to upgrade a number of facilities to be more efficient. Its headquarters, for example, was upgraded with more efficient lighting systems, new kitchen ventilation controls, water pumping and chillers. These upgrades save more than 2.75 million kWh annually.

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