There are many ways for businesses to be eco-friendly. Some businesses are switching to sustainable packaging, others are sponsoring innovative sustainability initiatives, while others are making history by developing innovative eco-friendly products. All businesses are different, so it’s difficult to say who is doing the most for the planet. We’ve selected our list of top eco-friendly brands in 2021 to include a diverse range of businesses and industries, so we can spotlight many types of eco-friendly solutions.
Top 6 Eco-Friendly Brands in 2021
Many different businesses are doing what they can to reduce their impact on the environment, clean up pollution and litter, and be a part of a sustainable, circular economy. Some are making big impacts with small amounts of resources, like inspiring upstarts making plant-based packaging or wind-powered homes. Others are making small impacts compared to the harm they’ve caused, like the multinational giant Nestle, which has invested millions in sustainable packaging, but continues to be a chief contributor to plastic pollution, water pollution, harmful business practices, and even child slavery.
It’s impossible to compare, for example, organizations who make it their business to clean up oceans with brands that sell shoes. This list of the top 6 eco-friendly brands in 2021 includes brands you might see day-to-day or find on your store shelf, or offers eco-friendly alternatives to products with big environmental costs.
1. Twice the Ice
Disposable plastic water bottles are a big contributor to plastic waste. Twice the Ice presents a better alternative: refillable water and ice stations at convenience stores. The vending machines connect directly to the local water source and, after thorough sanitation and filtration, deliver cold ice and water to customers anywhere.
No truck, no factory, no handling, no bottle
See how Twice the Ice is reworking water and ice sales
Patagonia is a well-known clothing brand with a lesser-known environmental activism program. With a focus on outerwear that’s made for outdoor adventures, the brand has also focused on protecting valuable environments. With their “1% for the planet” self-imposed tax on their sales, they’ve given over $100 million in grants to grassroots environmental activism groups since 1985.
Patagonia also focuses on ethical, eco-friendly supply chains, repairing their products, and sharing the efforts of ecological policy leaders. They’re not the only clothing brand that’s making ethical treatment and sustainable business a priority, though. A wide array of brands, including everything from swimsuits to casualwear, have focused on using sustainable materials and avoiding exploitative labor.
3. TOMS Shoes
Most shoes are made from plastics and synthetic fibers that are impossible to recycle, and 90% of sneakers, in particular, end up in landfills. Worse, shoes from major retailers, such as Nike, among others, are often made from exploitative and slave labor. TOMS footwear was among the first shoe manufacturers seeking to upend this disturbing trend.
TOMS became well-known for it’s “one for one” program, where the company would donate a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased. They’ve since expanded their efforts into a high-impact program, donating one third of their profits to grassroots organizations focused on community action. TOMS is also focused on sustainability, particularly sustainable materials including cotton, plant dye, recycled plastics, wood pulp, sugarcane, and more.
4. Beyond Meat
Industrial-scale meat production plays a significant role in the climate crisis. Avoiding meat and dairy has even been called ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your environmental impact on the Earth. Meat production is a major contributor to deforestation and forest fires, carbon emissions, pollution and more. Beyond Meat makes the list of the most eco-friendly brands in 2021 by producing a meat alternative that is financially and physically similar to meat, but cuts the environmental impact by as much as 90%. Beyond Meat has become a widespread brand, even being used by many fast food chains, though many meat alternative brands exist.
From animal testing to toxic ingredients to excessive plastic packaging, the cosmetics industry plays a part in ecological destruction as much as any other industry. Lush has taken a strong stance against these issues, prioritizing the use of sustainable packaging, conserving water, not using animal testing, using sustainable raw materials, and more.
6. Package Free Shop
Plastics are not generally recyclable, yet they’re used in packaging for most items we use everyday, from shampoo to dish soap to toothbrushes and much more. Package Free Shop gives consumers a plastic-free option for a wide range of items, including plastic-free containers and plastic-free shipping boxes. Package Free Shop is far from the only business pursuing this initiative; many online companies and physical stores are aiming for zero-waste.
If you are interested in reducing plastic waste, reducing carbon emissions and making a positive environmental impact, there are ethical businesses in every industry that share your priorities. Many of these are small businesses, providing the additional benefit of supporting competition and local companies. With a bit of research, you may be surprised how easy it is to find businesses that share your ethical environmental stance.