By Sam Becker
As consumers, it’s easy to become disillusioned by all of the negative press coverage pointed in the direction of major corporations. For every heartbreaking story of negligence or malicious profiteering, many others slip through the cracks that center around the philanthropic or good-natured contributions to the world that many companies make. With so much negativity, from stories involving General Motors’ (GM) recalls, to alleged worker exploitation by Wal-Mart (WMT) or McDonald’s (MCD), and even giant environmental disasters at the hands of companies like British Petroleum (BP), it’s all too easy to get swept up in an anti-corporate fervor, much of which is deservedly earned by many companies.
For every public hit a big company like any of the aforementioned takes, every other public relations department in the world gets a chance to watch from a distance and learn from its mistakes. Calls for higher corporate tax rates and large-scale protests like Occupy Wall Street have also put big companies in an awkward position in which they must still strive for increased growth and and profits for their shareholders while also maintaining a good relationship with the public. How are companies actually managing to pull off such a juggling act?
Many corporations have some sort of outreach program to invest back into its communities or offer a charitable arm in some shape or form. Others don’t do anything at all. Then there are some that are actively taking initiative to have a real, tangible, and positive impact on society through various means. Here are four companies that are changing the way they do business to have less harm, or simply sticking to an old promise to help out.
Read on to see four companies that are actively investing in the betterment of society:
1. SolarCity (SCTY)
SolarCity is at the forefront of the coming wave of renewable green energy that is starting to chip away at the stranglehold the fossil fuel industry holds on most of the world. American business has been sitting by while Germany has taken the reins as the world’s solar leader, although solar has finally started to pick up momentum across the United States. SolarCity became one of the first publicly traded solar installers in the United States in late 2012, and last year saw growth of its customer base by more than 100%, according to the Mercury News. But SolarCity is doing more than just supplying cheap, renewable energy to communities.
Recently, the company has announced a plan to introduce an online platform to sell debt investments backed by its solar projects. Individual investors will be able to take part, which was previously only available to large lenders. By introducing this new platform, SolarCity is opening up the solar energy market to many more people who were previously shut out and allowing individual investors to support renewable energy.
In the words of CEO Lyndon Rive, “people want to support clean energy development. Customers are seeing the benefits of getting solar for their homes but they would like to participate in other ways as well.” He added that, “With our investment platform, we’re hoping to allow far more individuals and smaller organizations to participate in the transformation to a cleaner, more distributed infrastructure.”
For the full article, please visit USA Today.