Supporting eco-friendly companies is one of the best, easiest, and often most affordable ways to help save the world in 2017. And, more consumers and businesses are seeking to support companies and brands that are socially conscious, offering solutions that can assist with different social issues that impact our society. Milennials especially are focusing on companies that are giving back or contributing to the health of our environment. With so many brands competing for your attention, it may be difficult to figure out which ones are focused on social needs rather than profits. Need help figuring out which companies are doing the most impactful work? Wondering if saving the world equates to consumers spending a lot more? Take a look at this list of do-gooder, innovative companies that have set out to change the world. With your help, they just might succeed.
- OAT’s Biodegradable Sneakers: Wish you could do more than donate your old sneakers? OAT, founded in Amsterdam, combines craftsmanship with eco-friendly materials and approaches that are helping the earth one step (or hop, or run) at a time. Their biodegradable sneakers grow flowers when planted–so do their bags, leather loafers and baby shoes. Use them as a planter when you’ve worn them out, and watch the sneakers slowly release back to the earth while a garden blossoms above them.
- Aqua-Yield: You might be supporting an Aqua-Yield farm and not even know it. Proof that great things can come in small packages, Aqua-Yield is a tiny device that delivers liquid nutritional particles directly to plants on a cellular level. Faster and natural seed germination, better soil, and less wasted water means healthier produce and lower agricultural costs.
- RainHarvest Systems: Don’t let heavy rains ruin foundations, destroy soil grading in your garden–or go to waste. Proper harvesting of rainwater can protect your home and property while providing you with healthy drinkable and gray-water. Lower your monthly water costs, maximize the use of natural resources, and take another step closer to living off the grid. Choose from a wide variety of systems and accessories for every need and budget.
- Technion Israel Institute of Technology: A team of researchers has revolutionized solar cell technology with an innovation that offers much more usable energy than current top of the line options. Today’s sunlight solar cells can convert about 30 percent of cells into usable energy–Technion has created technology that yields 50 percent. Find out more about the research and keep an eye out for consumer products utilizing the research findings.
- Beyond Meat: Meat eaters, particularly beef lovers, are responsible for putting a big burden on global warming. Offering meat alternatives is one of the most effective means of lessening beef consumption, and in turn slowing down (and perhaps reversing) global warming. Most people have tried tofu, mushroom and black bean burgers, but Beyond Meat is being touted as the first plant-based protein that actually tastes like beef. Check out all their products and find a location close to you.
- Rentech: This alternative fuel source company uses abundant natural resources and turns them into products with even higher values. Wood fiber is turned into wood pellets, and the company processes about 15 million tonnes of bark and wood per year, creating residual fuels. Pellets can be used for industrial or residential heating, dramatically reducing energy consumption and monthly energy bills.
- Bergey WindPower: A personal wind turbine has the potential to power a home at best (and drastically reduce energy consumption at “worst.”) It depends on the quality of the turbine as well as how much wind your region experiences. Bergey is a top-ranked personal wind turbine company, and is both the oldest and most widely known business specializing in reliability, performance and service life.
There are countless ways to change the world for the better, whether it’s creating better-tasting burger alternatives, finding different ways to power your home or maximize the potential of already available resources. Businesses — from startups to enterprises — have the research, know-how, experience and passion to bring these products to life. Now it’s up to the consumers in 2017 to embrace the research and products for a healthier, happier future.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.