Green Business

Montgomery County recycling center, 2014

Montgomery County recycling center, 2014

“We have a choice to make during our brief visit to this beautiful blue and green living planet: to hurt it or to help it.”

Ray Anderson, carpet manufacturer and sustainability advocate, 2009

When consumers began voicing concern for the environment and sustainability, companies responded with empty public relations campaigns. Soon, however, business leaders realized that green innovations could be both right and profitable.

Greener tape, 2014

Greener tape, 2014

Fearing increased air and water pollution, the local activist group Scenic Hudson worked to stop the construction of a coal-fired cement plant in New York State.

Clean Air

Scientists and environmentalists argued that emissions from coal-burning power plants caused pollution. Seeking to be both responsible and profitable, SC Johnson powered their Waxdale, Wisconsin, factory with a combination of wind energy, methane gas from a nearby dump, and cleaner-burning natural gas.

“Stop the Plant” poster, about 2000

“Stop the Plant” poster, about 2000

Fearing increased air and water pollution, the local activist group Scenic Hudson worked to stop the construction of a coal-fired cement plant in New York State.

Protest march, 2003

Protest march, 2003

Residents of Racine, Wisconsin, including industrialist Sam Johnson, protested plans to build a new coal-fired power generation station.

Courtesy of Journal Times, Racine WI, photographers Gregory Shaver and Ron Kuenstler © 2003

SC Johnson wind turbine model, dedication ceremony souvenir, 2012

Food

Farmers and food producers responded to the environmental concerns of consumers and new governmental regulations in many ways, including: controlling fertilizer runoff, increasing organic production, avoiding endangered fish, using water more wisely, and reducing chemical additives.

"Say No to Pesticides" Button

Worker instructional sign, about 2010

Seafood Watch pocket guide, about 1999

Seafood Watch pocket guide, about 1999

Walmart organic produce section, 2010

Walmart organic produce section, 2010

In 2006 Walmart responded to a growing demand from mainstream America by greatly expanding its organic products.

Courtesy of Walmart

Garbage

Reducing manufacturing and packing waste, as well as selecting more environmentally friendly materials, became a focus for producers and consumers. Both agreed that it was the right thing to do, and businesses discovered it could often save them money.
 

"Stop Ocean Dumping" Button

"Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" Button

Polystyrene Chicken McNugget container, about 1985

Biodegradable Chicken McNugget container, 1999