Earth Day 2020: How 8 tech companies are doing their part

Tech giants and SMBs are honoring the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with creative initiatives.

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Tech companies are stepping up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, with a variety of initiatives and events. 

The theme for this year's Earth Day is climate action, according to the official Earth Day site. The mission is to encourage individuals and organizations around the world to continue moving toward a zero-carbon future that makes our world more habitable. 

SEE: Earth Day 2020 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

"When Earth Day was founded, the government led the charge for climate action and brought attention to the widespread environmental issues," said Mathias Lelievre, CEO of ENGIE Impact, a sustainability and energy management company. "Now, 50 years later, businesses are leading the charge by setting aggressive targets and holding their shareholders and supply chains accountable for meeting these goals.

"While the incentive for action is clear, the biggest problem businesses face is the sheer complexity of the sustainability transformation," Lelievre said. "For example, international, multisite organizations face different priorities based on sheer size and geographic locations, as well as the need to balance different regulatory requirements by region/industry. 

"Society is faced with increasing challenges, like extreme weather, government regulations, consumer demand and resiliency issues, corporations must work to ensure that their sustainability programs transcend their organization," Lelievre noted. "If they accomplish this, Earth will be one step closer to a global economy that supports climate action instead of hindering it." 

Tech companies small and large are doing their part to honor Earth Day this year. The following companies have already announced plans in place. 

SEE: Green tech initiatives: Best practices and breakthroughs (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

8 companies honoring Earth Day 2020 

  • Apple 

Apple is releasing an animated short film titled "Here we are: Notes for living on Planet Earth," on April 17. To honor Earth Day, Apple's film follows a 7-year-old boy who learns about the planet from his parents and an art exhibit. Voiced by Jacob Tremblay, Meryl Streep, Chris O'Dowd, and Ruth Negga, the film will be available exclusively on Apple TV+. 

  • Microsoft

Microsoft is celebrating Earth Day with two new packs of premium Windows 10 themes. The themes are Earth Day Natural World 2020 and Earth Day Living World 2020, which both have more than 10 4K resolution wallpapers. The Natural World collection features habitats from around the world from oceans, to deserts, and canyons. The Living World showcases worldwide wildlife including pandas, penguins, and butterflies. 

  • NASA

NASA is throwing an entire online celebration beginning Thursday, April 16. On Thursday, viewers can enjoy at-home science activities, videos from space, and online lectures from its Pasadena Jet Propulsion Lab. On Earth Day itself, NASA will broadcast a panel of experts to discuss how the company is working to improve the environment. 

  • Best Buy

Best Buy has accumulated a bevy of tech products to support Earth Day under its new Sustainable Living section online. The page features five categories: Gardening and composting, green transportation, renewable energy, resource conservation, and outdoor recreation. Each group has suggested sustainable products to buy, as well as statistics on the impact these initiatives could have on the environment.

  • Hypergiant Industries

The artificial intelligence (AI) products and services company is launching its Eos Bioreactor in honor of Earth Day 2020, as an effort to reduce carbon emissions. 

"The Eos Bioreactor prototype sequesters carbon from the atmosphere using algae. This algae-based carbon sequestration solution is 400x more effective than trees, meaning one bioreactor can sequester as much carbon as an entire acre of trees--making this a strong candidate for companies and cities looking at solutions to reduce their carbon footprint," said Ben Lamm, CEO at Hypergiant. 

The Bioreactor is a 3'x3'x7' cube, "intended for use in urban environments where it can fit within office buildings," Lamm said. "However, the long-term concept for this idea would be to have it included as part of a larger 'smart cities' program where the algae byproduct of biodiesel can provide biomass for a variety of other products that promote and improve urban living." 

  • Nomad

Nomad, a smart phone and smart watch accessory company, is giving away free iPhone Lightning cables with the donation to the Carbon Fund in honor of Earth Day. 

"Carbon Fund makes it easy for companies to find and buy carbon offsets in a variety of different ways and locations," said Chuck Melber, marketing director at Nomad. The company also assists with reforestation by planting trees in the Amazon.

  • ENGIE Impact

ENGIE Impact works year round to help companies and cities accelerate sustainability goals. With climate as this year's Earth Day theme, the company highlighted how they've also seen an uptick in organizations working toward climate goals, according to Lelievre. 

"Over the past year, we've seen a stark increase in organizations setting aggressive climate goals," Lelievre said. "ENGIE Impact builds individualized, strategic plans based on advanced analytics on public and proprietary data, to identify aggressive, yet realistic, climate targets, and prescribe the specific steps that businesses must take to achieve these goals within a set timeframe."

  • Multihouse Entertainment 

Multihouse Entertainment, a hybrid tech and entertainment company, is celebrating Earth Day with its Trash Force initiative. The project aims to pursue green initiatives in its tech developments and film productions, said Michael Tessler, president and CEO of Multihouse.

"All of our employees will be given branded reusable water bottles starting this year, and we'll be doing the same on set. Providing water pump stations to make refills readily available to our cast and crew," Tessler said.  

"Additionally, we're looking to establish strategic partnerships with nonprofits who want to utilize our technology to better help advance their mission," Tessler added. "We believe every company, especially startups, has a unique responsibility to the planet they call home." 

For more, check out Earth Day turns 50: NASA throws an online celebration on TechRepublic.

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