In this blog, we shall look at the most common but hugely impactful alternatives. We’ll look at case studies which illustrate the need for alternatives more than ever and how people and industry are working together to solve unsustainable practices with innovation and right thinking.

A few questions for you to reflect on at the outset:
– Is your organisation, irrespective of which function, facility, department or lifecycle it is in, still dependent on fossil fuels to meet its energy requirements? (Think infrastructures that keep server rooms cool, electricity running your facilities and machines, fleets of vehicles used in your supply chain, transportation etc.)
– Can you articulate the CO2 emission rate of your organisation?
Do you know where that cool swag is coming from and what materials are being extracted to bring them to you to make you feel so cool about your organisation? 
– Do you know every clearly what happens to your product once it is disposed off by the consumer?
Would you be able to share the cut in emissions you caused by adopting virtual meetings over in-person cross country meets?
– If you are able to answer any of these questions, you are most likely already thinking of alternatives.

Organisations and industries leading the way with Alternatives.

While Fossil Fuel and Fashion are turning out to be the poster kids for alternatives, there are several other industries that are already looking at their impact on the environment and readying to stay sustainable as a business even in the future. Here are three examples:

CVG Papier, Netherlands

This paper manufacturing company relies heavily on wood pulp to create thousands of tonnes of paper every year. While efficiency is a metric they rely on for their manufacturing processes, what about the sustainability of the business in the future when there are no trees left? So they start to ask questions like what is the lifecycle of their product — where is the raw material coming from, how is it being shipped, what other inputs go into the manufacturing and where are those coming from and so on. This leads them to alternatives that could help them reduce their environmental footprint especially around the use and supply of wood fiber. Turns out using fiber from beetsugar can help them lower their footprint by 20 to 30%. Now the organisation is working towards the transition and of course a more sustainable future for the business as well as the environment and without compromising on profits.  
Watch their inspiring video here:

Data Centers, Cooler countries

This one’s not a specific company but more a practise where organizations have started opening data centers in cooler regions like Finland and Sweden. ‘Cold climates are preferable because they reduce and sometimes eliminate reliance on conventional cooling systems that consume a lot of electricity. The temperatures in the near-arctic are so low that companies can simply run cold air or chilled water into their data center, or use heat exchangers to bring temperatures down.’ – Telehouse. Companies such as Facebook and Google have their data centers already setup in these countries. 

L’OReal, France

A household name in personal care, L’Oreal has been under the scanner for a long time for its wasteful water practices. The company has since moved to a more responsible way of using and reusing water for its manufacturing facilities thereby reducing its fresh water requirements by 50%. The company has also been working with alternative formulations that ensure respect for aquatic creatures once the products mix with water streams post disposal. (Link to their sustainability commitments and action ). The use of plastic in their packaging is also something the organisation is looking to phase out through alternatives such as high density paper bottles. Considering plastic packaging from consumer products is a huge issue, organisations such as L’OReal can make a huge difference to the packaging materials ecosystem by taking the lead.

While sustainability related issues are complex and overwhelming, it is also heartwarming to see companies taking steps to be environmentally and socially inclusive intentionally. And our effort is to bring forward these examples to you, open a discussion, share ideas and build awareness and enthusiasm around sustainability. 
Can you think of industries that have contributed to the growing environmental concern in the last decade? Also industries that are taking steps to make things better?

Let us know your answers in the comment sections. Let’s start a conversation on alternatives today.

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