As energy efficiency and sustainability picks up in the business world, companies are starting to understand that it’s less about submitting to a trend and more about doing business better and sustaining our planet.

With more companies understanding their environmental impact and becoming conscious of their carbon footprints — setting sustainability initiatives for businesses is becoming a higher priority. Of course, there have been companies in the foodservice, retail, accommodations and small industrial sectors who have been ahead of the game — taking on roles as environmental leaders for a while now.

Today we’re celebrating leaders in the green scene who have maximized their energy efficiency, promoted sustainability and set great examples in the business world (often being rewarded with cost savings as a result of consuming less energy).

A green kind of clean: Lush Cosmetics

Powered by Bullfrog, optimizing energy efficiency and prioritizing sustainability, Lush Cosmetics is a socially responsible soap company that has been doing green business since the 1970s. They have 830 stores in 51 countries and prove that green initiatives can lead to a successful venture.

Mountain Equipment Co-op is passionate about sustainability

Considering their business relies on nature, this retailer understands exactly why a business should take its environmental impact into consideration. Whether they’re focusing on energy efficiency, their renewable energy sources or diverting 91-94 per cent of their waste from landfills, this retailer is serious about their sustainability.

The Gladstone Hotel is community and environment focused

There’s a lot of history here. As one of Toronto’s oldest operating hotels, it provides both accommodations to visitors and also offers entertainment for the local community. With a green wall and roof, recent renovations to the old building have helped lesser the environmental impact in the city.

Toyota driving down the sustainable road

Whether this green car company is transforming their production sites and national headquarters into sustainable habitats for plants and wildlife or working on the sustainability vision of their company, Toyota deserves its success. Last year this company was recognized as one of the Best Global Green Brands in 2013 in the US retail industry.

Air Canada Centre goes carbon neutral

Sports fans and concert-goers can feel good about watching their games and shows at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre as the venue has gone carbon neutral. Starting their green initiatives back in 2008 and investing over $5 million into following through, their partnership with Just Energy and commitment to sustainability has resulted in success!

Financial district in Toronto is home to the largest energy-efficient building

The Bay Adelaide Centre has taken the title as being the largest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building in Canada. Achieving a Gold status, this building is home to many different offices and started its build way back in 1990. Finally erect, it has energy-efficient highlights that will hopefully inspire other urban buildings to follow its green example.

The Four Seasons Vancouver continues to be an environmental leader

BizEnergy was lucky enough to speak with director of engineering, Priyan Jayetileke, from the Four Seasons Vancouver. Jayetileke shared some of the amazing energy-efficient measures this hotel has taken and talked about their partnership with BC Hydro. Valuing sustainability, this accommodation has bettered operations and has improved its bottom line through energy-efficient efforts — from their HVAC system to their strategic waste management.

Café Solaris a game-changer in the coffee retailer industry

Offering solar-dried coffee from Honduras, Café Solar protects tropical rainforests and uses renewable energy to produce their first-of-its-kind brand. This company combines energy efficiency with feminism and makes delicious coffee while being environmentally and socially considerate.

Whether the companies are in retail, foodservice or accommodations — these environmental leaders prove it’s certainly possible to do business right.


Image credit: Chloe Tse