Breakfast, Beer and Builders: Traditional Business Go Green

Breakfast, Beer and Builders: Traditional Business Go Green

by Bilal Kaiser, February 2010

More and more traditional businesses are going green, without sacrificing quality or profit. According to the nonprofit Green America, green businesses “operate in ways that solve, rather than cause, both environmental and social problems.” This can be something as simple as recycling waste, or more complex, like developing new ways of doing things.

Below are three traditional businesses that have embraced the green approach.

1. General Mills

General Mills is no stranger to being green. According to the company, all General Mills cereal boxes are made from 100 % recycled materials and have been that way for decades.

Recently, the company took its green efforts to the next level. Cheerios byproducts are being used to generate electricity in at least one General Mills facility, while another location reduces landfill waste by feeding cattle with yogurt from damaged containers.

Plus, General Mills is making efforts to increase its green efforts in the coming years. The company has set long-term goals to reduce company-wide energy consumption, solid waste generation and water usage.

2. Integrity Block

Some of the biggest green business innovators are in the building and construction industry, due in part to government initiatives supporting environmentally conscious construction. In the late 90's, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) established the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, or LEED, for residential and commercial buildings. LEED offers an independent verification and rating of a building's or community's green status, taking into account energy savings and water efficiency, among other metrics.

One example is California-based construction company Integrity Block. The company produces sustainable building materials and has created what they call the “first green replacement for concrete block.” Their building materials are made of 50 % recycled content and contain natural soil colors as opposed to artificial dyes.

Integrity Blocks is able match the specs of standard concrete blocks even with their green approach. Perhaps the biggest benefit is that builders can get LEED credits by using this eco-friendly product.

3. New Belgium Brewing Company

Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing Company operates under an “Alternatively Empowered” concept. The company focuses on minimizing environmental impact and strongly supporting their employees and surrounding community.

Since 1999, the company has been using wind-power electricity for power. Plus, the methane gas produced from their water treatment plant is used to fuel on-site heat and power. New Belgium has also set long-term goals to reduce the company's carbon footprint by 25% and water usage by 10 %.

Going green may just seem like passing trend, but as these businesses illustrate, sustainable business practices can help build a sustainable, and profitable, business.


For more information, please visit:


General Mills

Integrity Block

New Belgium Brewing Company

Green America

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)