Utah companies take on the triple bottom line: people, planet, profit
2020 is the year of sustainability. Several companies and brands have made goals to reduce carbon emissions, water usage, plastic packaging, and the like (in fact, PepsiCo recently announced it will use 100 percent renewable electricity this year).
Entire countries have made steps towards sustainability, like Thailand, which banned plastic bags, and Iceland, which plans to be plastic-free by 2023. Utah businesses are committing to sustainability as well, many out of a sense of responsibility and an interest in the “triple bottom line:” people, planet and profit.
“This is really just becoming a global movement,” says Teresa Haws, director of customer experience at doTerra when discussing sustainability. “We want to make sure that we’re taking care of the planet.”
Sustainability starts at headquarters
In fall 2018, Heather Cruz, NuSkin’s director of corporate social responsibility and sustainability, began speaking with CEO, Ritch Wood about how NuSkin could make its headquarters and other facilities more sustainable.
So far, the changes to the NuSkin headquarters include reduced water usage, energy-efficient lighting, and the removal of paper cups from their facility, gifting employees reusable water bottles instead. NuSkin plans to make headquarters zero-waste by 2023, Cruz says, with an eventual goal to make all facilities zero-waste.
“The response has been fantastic. Employees have been incredibly supportive,” says Cruz.
While designing its new headquarters in Lehi, Young Living executives knew they wanted to take the opportunity to make the building as green as possible, seeking both LEED and Green Globes certification.
“A lot of planning went into that, a lot of effort, a lot of expense, that we didn’t have to do, but we did it because it was important to us,” says Deven Patten, senior manager of sustainability at Young Living.
Young Living created its sustainability team in October 2018 as part of its five by five pledge, which includes becoming zero waste in five years. Besides sourcing all building materials locally, the building has its own water filtration system, supplies a small percentage of its energy from solar panels, and offers electric vehicle charging stations for employees.
Both NuSkin and Young Living also work with in-house restaurants that use local produce and specialize in reducing food waste while utilizing either compostable or reusable utensils.
Products and packaging
When it comes to sustainable, earth friendly packaging that is low waste, doTerra is leading the way by far. This year, doTerra will replace plastic bubble wrap and air pillows with paper options. They will also use different-shaped boxes made from 50 percent post-consumer recycled materials with less corrugated cardboard and soy-based ink.
doTerra receives over a million orders for shipping per month in the US, “So clearly, if we can eliminate the plastics that we’re using in our shipping, that’s already a huge win,” says Haws.
NuSkin has decreased the size and amount of plastic packaging and pledged to make all of its packaging reusable, recyclable, recycled, refillable or recoverable before 2030. The company also promised in fall 2019 to create an environmental impact scoring system to improve the environmental impact of its top 20 products by the end of this year, and assess and score 100 percent of its products, making changes to benefit the planet, by 2023.
For Young Living, Patten says packaging is the next area they want to assess and research.
Consumers and community
Besides being good for the planet, each of these companies say that making an effort to be sustainable has been good for business, too. “It’s something our customers have asked for, for quite some time,” Cruz says. “They want to be sustainable. They want things to be green.”
Before entirely changing its packaging to be plastic-free, Haws says doTerra tested it out in a few select areas and receieved overwhelmingly positive feedback. “We have a very environmentally conscious group of consumers,” Haws says.
All three company representatives, however, did mention that while consumers and customers want to be environmentally conscious, they don’t always know how to be, so education and giving back has become an important part of each company’s sustainability goals and platforms.
“The right thing to do”
It makes sense for companies like doTerra, NuSkin and Young Living, which are all about natural products, health and wellness, to make these changes. But they aren’t the only local businesses looking out for the environment.
Honda — yes, the car manufacturer — introduced a voluntary environmental program in 2011 to encourage and help dealers lessen their carbon footprint. In November 2019, Monarch Honda in Orem received the Honda Environmental Leadership Award for its efforts to reduce environmental impact.
By just switching to energy-efficient LED lighting, general manager Rob Morgan says he cut his energy costs in half. He’s also changed bathroom lights to be motion-detecting. But Morgan still has bigger plans to install more electric vehicle charging stations in his dealership’s parking lot, solar panels on the rooftop, offer more electric motorcycles in stock, and even update toilets to reduce water usage.
Since a lot of the product Morgan sells comes in cardboard, he also bought his own baler and invites the community to drop off their cardboard boxes to be baled, and pays to have it picked up and taken to recycling.
He admits that the sustainable updates come at a cost, but he believes it’s an investment.
“I’m not one of those large corporations that has a lot of excess money … but the bottom line is that it will pay you back, for 20 years or longer, is what I’m projecting,” Morgan says. “(And) in today’s world, it’s just the right thing to do.”