Many people are concerned with climate change and protecting the environment. We’ve all been taught how important it is to protect the planet for future generations. Most of us recycle, try to create less waste and reduce energy consumption. Those small steps make a huge impact, but some of the front runners in protecting the environment are actually some of the biggest and well-known businesses that create and sell everyday products.

Sustainability is a major trend for businesses to improve their bottom line but it also affects customers’ preferences and choices when choosing where to buy products. In a recent CNN article, five companies were mentioned as front-runners in the fight to conquer climate change. One of the companies mentioned was Unilever which owns brands including Ben & Jerry’s and Dove. Unilever is committed to major sustainability goals including obtaining all of its materials from sustainable sources by 2020 and to be carbon positive by 2030. A report from earlier this year showed that all of Unilever’s sustainable brands grew 46% faster than other brands in the past year. Unilever’s commitment to sustainability across many of their brands is very important and has not gone unnoticed by consumers.

Another major player in strong sustainability and environmental commitments is Patagonia. The apparel company is known for donating money to environmental advocacy, create a safe and ethical supply chain, managing the entire life cycle of their products. Most notably, Patagonia is famous for their Worn Wear campaign, where consumers can trade in used Patagonia clothing, buy used and have Patagonia repair clothes. This campaign has been incredibly successful and consumers have been satisfied with their new and improved articles of clothing. With this initiative, more Patagonia consumers are keeping their old products instead of buying new apparel.

Sustainability is important for conscious consumers as well as for executives and communications professionals. In a Harvard Business Review article, author Mark R. Kramer says the best way for professionals to engage the public is for major companies to take initiative and a stance on issues that concern their stakeholders. Kramer’s advice? Take a strong stance, use the media as a tool, present the benefits to shareholders and be confident in your positions as a company.

With environmental concerns growing, it is no wonder that many consumers and businesses see the need for more sustainability in the private sector. With more and more consumers and executives seeing the benefit to sustainable practices, the more companies will be able to make tangible changes to the environment.

Stay tuned…