Environmental policies have never been so important for businesses. Issues such as climate change and global warning are now becoming increasingly more avid as firms look to shift their operating strategy to combat climate change.

I have picked out three FTSE 100 listed firms, who I feel are providing a measurable impact on the environment through their policies, actions and responsibilities.

Sainsbury’s

The supermarket industry is often cited as one of the biggest contributors to carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions – however Sainsbury’s have taken the lead to cut down their environmental impact.

Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY) have made a concerned effort over the last few years to ensure that they cut their use of plastics and reduce company emissions.

The firm has boasted some interesting statistics on their environmental policies – notably the British supermarket brand has zero waste to landfill since 2013.

7,992 tonnes of carbon dioxide have been saved through their colleague behavior change project ‘Greenest Grocer’ and the firm has used one billion litres of water less than the equivalent in 2005/2006.

Sainsbury’s have signed up to Courtauld 2025, which is an ambitious voluntary agreement to ‘make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable’.

The FTSE 100 listed firm has made an active effort to work with farmers, to reduce food waste across the whole supply chain, and when surplus food supply occurs – these are sent to charity food donation partners. An interesting statistic to note is that 1,164 food donation partnerships have been agreed across Sainsbury’s entire store portfolio.

BT

BT (LON:BT.A) are another high profile firm who have been put under the spotlight over recent years for environmental issues. As a telecommunications firm, BT are looking to set the trend within the industry – to set an example for all telecommunications firms to cut down energy and wastage.

BT are one of the first firms in British industry to really focus on environmental policies. In 1992, they were the first big name to set a carbon reduction target – and since then their policies and ambitions have only grown.

The British firm add that environmental policies form part of the firms’ responsibility and they have a significant impact on the environment. To manage this impact, BT now have installed the Environmental Management System (EMS). Here, issues such as energy consumption and carbon emissions are considered.

The telecommunications giant have also expressed their stance in saying that they want to help customers reduce their carbon footprint by at least three times the end-to-end carbon impact of their business by 2020, which is called the “3:1 Ambition”. Through these actions, the company promises the responsible use and disposal of plastics throughout their business operations through the plastics policy within their EMS.

Unilever

Unilever plc (LON:ULVR) have already owned the implications of their activity on the environment and climate change. Following this acknowledgement, Unilever derived their environmental vision which is:

“To grow our business, whilst decoupling our environmental footprint from our growth and increasing our positive social impact.”

As Unilever are a major multinational firm, and operate within a range of markets including food and health products – there is more a generic focus in terms of their environmental policy.

Unilever now refresh their materiality assessment periodically, which considers current and future climate issues. Along with this, there is an emphasis within their environmental policy to set targets for continuous improvement and put in place safety and sustainability programs.

The firm also engages with suppliers to reduce environmental impact, which is derived from their ‘Responsible Sourcing Policy’. This allows the addressing of issues which affect farmers within the agricultural market. These issues include improvements in supply chains, legal compliance, no deforestation, soil and water management, pollution and biodiversity.

Finally, looking at product use – Unilever consider their environmental impact through designing of products, which makes recycling easier. The firm are also currently working with global governments to ‘create an environment that enables the creation of a circular economy’ – which includes the necessary resources to collect and recycle materials.