10 Exemplary Sustainable Companies Based in the West
These brands stand out for their innovative approaches to sustainability.
Written byJess ChamberlainMay 22, 2018
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Courtesy of Imperfect Produce; Rob Schanz
1 of 10Courtesy of Imperfect Produce; Rob Schanz
Imperfect Produce, San Francisco, CA
Twenty percent of the fruits and vegetables grown the U.S. don't make it off the farm because they don't meet grocery store standards. They're misshapen, too small, too big, too unique. But they taste great! Imperfect Produce is helping to divert this food waste by offering this "imperfect" produce to customers at 30 to 50% less. Their customizable produce subscription service is currently available in WA, OR, CA, and in several inland cities.
Courtesy of Patagonia
2 of 10Courtesy of Patagonia
Patagonia, Ventura, CA
With passionate environmental activist Yvon Chouinard at the helm of Patagonia since its founding in 1973, the outdoor gear company does much more than offer free repairs and a buy-back program to extend the life of their products. The company has been rooted in environmentalism since day one, has been fearless in its work to protect pubic lands, and recently launched Patagonia Action Works through which people are connected to organizations working on environmental issues in their community. Chouinard also founded 1% for the Planet, an organization that encourages companies to donate 1% of their sales to environmental causes.
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Courtesy of Tiny Heirloom
3 of 10Courtesy of Tiny Heirloom
Tiny Heirloom, Portland, OR
Have you noticed that tiny homes don't look so much like gingerbread houses anymore? The folks at Tiny Heirloom believe "downsizing doesn't have to mean downgrading." The company designs and builds custom luxury tiny homes—efficient spaces that feel like an upgrade. And they've helped to make light-impact living mainstream: their company has an HGTV show, Tiny Luxury, now in its 3rd season.
Courtesy of Klean Kanteen
4 of 10Courtesy of Klean Kanteen
Klean Kanteen, Chico, CA
A pioneer in eliminating single-use plastic, Klean Kanteen introduced the first stainless steel, BPA-free, reusable water bottle in 2004. Now a certified B Corporation (meets rigorous standards of social and environmental responsibility), their product line has expanded to thermoses and food containers.
Courtesy of Tesla
5 of 10Courtesy of Tesla
Tesla, Palo Alto, CA
A pioneer in fuel-free electric car design, Tesla has recently expanded its leading eco-friendly innovations to solar power for homes. Beyond traditional solar panels, the company now offers a groundbreaking concept: solar roof tiles designed to complement a home's architectural style.
Courtesy of The Minimalists
6 of 10Courtesy of The Minimalists
The Minimalists, Los Angeles, CA
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists, have made a business (with a huge online, social media, and in-person following) of living life with less. Through their website, books, films, podcast, and speaking tours, they're preaching (and motivating) low-impact living by encouraging people to have less (possessions, commitments, screen time) to make room for more of what's truly important and meaningful. (Try their 30-Day Minimalism Game to get started.) Last year the duo moved their headquarters from Missoula to Los Angeles to "build a podcast and film studio in an effort to produce more meaningful creations."
Courtesy of Lyft
7 of 10Courtesy of Lyft
Lyft, San Francisco, CA
Making it possible to live car-free in most urban areas since 2012, Lyft's launch of Lyft Line introduced modern carpooling to the market. Riders can share a car with others headed in the same direction and pay up to 60% less. Now, 40% of rides are Lyft Line (in markets where the service is available), and as of a report in 2017 the service had matched over 28 million rides, reducing gas consumption by almost a million gallons.
Courtesy of The International Living Future Institute
8 of 10Courtesy of The International Living Future Institute
International Living Future Institute, Seattle, WA
The International Living Future Institute created the world's most rigorous building performance standard (yes, beyond LEED), the Living Building Challenge, exemplifying how a building to generate more energy than it uses. The certification is based on actual building performance rather than anticipated performance (as is the bar for many other home efficiency standards). The institute is headquartered in Seattle's Bullitt Center, the world's greenest office building.
Courtesy of Ebay
9 of 10Courtesy of Ebay
Ebay, San Jose, CA
Ebay has been a pioneer in the circular economy (giving second lives to used goods) since 1995. Their 2020 climate impact goal is to "create $2.5 billion in positive economic impacts and avoid 2.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions through people selling their pre-owned electronics and apparel on eBay." An example of that scale: 175,000 Apple iPhone 6 units found new owners on eBay within 90 days of the next model release.
Courtesy of The Kitchen
10 of 10Courtesy of The Kitchen
The Kitchen, Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins, CO
In addition to the A+ eco-friendly practices of serving sustainable food from local farms and ranches, composting, employing wind-power, and choosing eco-friendly packaging, The Kitchen restaurants use part of their profits to fund their nonprofit Big Green (formerly The Kitchen Community), which builds school learning gardens helping to foster food literacy across the country.