Earth Week Chronicles: Driving Sustainability in Business Practices

By exploring how companies celebrate Earth Day, businesses can promote climate action and integrate sustainability, draw in varied talent, and foster a culture of environmental awareness. Discover how companies like Disney, Starbucks, and Apple are highlighting the transformative impact of Earth Day in promoting positive change. 


“We built the Disney Conservation Fund to save wildlife, inspire action, and protect our planet. It’s a respected program funding projects in over half the world, aiming to inspire global action for nature and make a lasting difference for our home.” – Kim Sams (retired), Director, Disney Conservation Fund

For over ten years, Disneynature films have shared compelling stories from nature, promoting a deeper respect and care for our planet. National Geographic and the Animal Kingdom Theme Park also play a role in educating about and conserving nature. The Disney Conservation Fund is actively deployed to protect wildlife, providing grants to top conservation groups. Over $120 million has been directed towards these efforts since 1995, helping stabilize and grow populations of over 1,000 endangered species.


“Each improvement in our Greener Store initiative may seem small, like one dishwasher or recycling bin. However, with thousands of stores, these collective actions, both from partners and customers, have a significant impact due to our scale. When everyone contributes positively, even small changes become substantial.” – Erica Saraff, Senior Project Manager, Global Store Development-Sustainability

Starbucks aims to certify 10,000 Greener Stores globally by 2025, focusing on reducing harmful volatile organic compounds and enhancing air quality. They’re also launching an Embodied Carbon Initiative to track equipment and material emissions throughout their lifecycle. The coffee hub’s Earth Day campaign includes incentives for customers to bring reusable cups, alongside promoting a special Earth Day edition cup. Starbucks engages in local reforestation efforts through volunteer activities with partners, customers, and employees, facilitated by the sale of these reusable cups. Read their 2023 Global Environmental & Social Impact report here.


“We’re making strides toward our Apple 2030 vision to have every product carbon neutral by then. This Earth Day, we’re excited to share our progress with customers. Our devices are environmentally conscious, featuring more clean energy, durability, efficiency, and recycled materials than ever before.” – Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives

Apple has embraced sustainability with the Apple Watch (their first carbon-neutral product) marking progress towards their 2030 target for carbon neutrality across all products. Since 2015, they’ve reduced their carbon footprint by over 45 percent, focusing on material innovation, clean energy, eco-friendly shipping, and investing in nature projects to offset emissions. Apple also supports Earth Day through the Great Global Cleanup, encouraging employee volunteering. For every volunteer hour, $25 is donated to


“NASA’s space endeavors, spanning Earth science and technological innovations, yield daily benefits, especially in addressing environmental concerns. By studying Earth’s climate changes and developing green technologies, NASA supports sustainable living and aids in adapting to both natural and human-induced changes on our planet.” – Tylar Green, Executive Officer in the Office of the Chief Scientist

NASA leverages its unique perspective in space to deepen our knowledge of Earth, enhance quality of life, and preserve our future. Through the Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program, they offer unrestricted access to critical Earth science data, aiding in our comprehension and safeguarding of the planet while optimizing its usefulness for researchers, decision-makers, and society as a whole. Each year, NASA sets trends with innovative Earth Day campaigns, unveiling themed posters, downloadable content, and social media initiatives like #NASAEarthling and #ConnectedByEarth, driving climate action awareness.


“Our rule is: no innovation without sustainability. Leather, a high-footprint material, has a significant carbon footprint throughout its lifecycle. We’re aiming for a lighter, more sustainable leather in shoes, ensuring consumers love the change without even realizing it.” – Eric Spunk, Chief Operating Officer

Nike’s ‘Move to Zero’ initiative aims to remove single-use plastics from their global campuses and foster conversations in the design community through—they’ve diverted 6.4 billion plastic bottles from landfills since 2010. Shoes like the Nike Space Hippie and Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature lead in eco-friendly footwear by integrating recycled materials like Space Waste Yarn, Nike Grin, and Flyknit, blending sustainability and performance.


“We aim for Target to be the go-to for sustainability. To achieve this, we prioritize people and the planet, collaborating with our guests, partners, and communities.” – Amanda Nusz, Senior VP of Corporate Responsibility & President

Target prioritizes sustainability beyond Earth Week, demonstrated through initiatives like Target Zero, which features eco-friendly products from renowned brands. Their efforts include offering numerous items with refillable, reusable, compostable, or recycled packaging to reduce plastic waste. Through their Target Forward initiative, they’re working to ensure that all their own-brand plastic packaging is recyclable, compostable, or reusable by 2025. Target also aims to lower their carbon footprint by reducing energy usage and transitioning to 100-percent renewable energy by 2030, utilizing methods like rooftop solar power.


“Gaming is a powerful platform for global cultural change, encouraging players to explore, connect, and embrace sustainability together.” – Trista Patterson, Director of Sustainability 

Xbox aims to achieve carbon negativity, water positivity, and zero waste by 2030. For Earth Day 2023, they launched the Xbox Wireless Controller – Remix Special Edition, incorporating one-third recycled materials. They’re also set to unveil their inaugural carbon-conscious gaming console and have introduced tools for game developers to assess carbon footprints. Additionally, they’ve partnered with Minecraft Education and BBC Earth’s Frozen Planet II to create an interactive Minecraft experience exploring climate change in the polar regions.


“Since 1949, ASICS has aimed to foster wellness in both body and mind. Recognizing the importance of a sustainable planet, we’re dedicated to advancing a circular economy, limiting CO2 emissions, and supporting efforts to keep global warming below 1.5℃. Our ongoing innovation in manufacturing aims to reduce textile waste and promote a circular economy, crucial steps in addressing climate change.” – Yasuhito Hirota, President and COO

ASICS launched their Earth Day 2023 collection, their most eco-friendly to date, utilizing a circular manufacturing method to recycle over five tons of textile waste into new shoes, equivalent to 25,000 t-shirts. ASICS is also shifting towards sustainable materials like recycled or bio-based polyester and certified natural materials while encouraging customers to participate in take-back programs.


“In my decade at McDonald’s, I’ve seen the incredible dedication of our McFamily. From carbon footprint management to responsible sourcing, our diverse teams and partners inspire us to aim higher and work smarter.” – Jenny McColloch, Chief Sustainability Officer

McDonald’s is making strides in climate action and sustainability, focusing on eco-friendly packaging and materials for toys. They’ve achieved their goal of 100 percent cage-free eggs sourcing in the U.S. by 2025, and by 2022, they were 81 percent toward their goal of renewable, recycled, or certified materials for primary guest packaging.

The diverse initiatives and commitments showcased by companies like NASA, Nike, Target, and Xbox, demonstrate the significant impact of Earth Day celebrations in promoting sustainability, environmental awareness, and climate action across various sectors. These efforts not only inspire positive change but also underscore the collective responsibility of businesses, organizations, and individuals in preserving our planet for future generations.