I envision a close future where we applaud sustainability efforts by large businesses, rather than crucify imperfection. It is important for us to value efforts and improvements, even if the company is still far from ideal goals.
The way for us to value them is to do our research when companies are being attacked for not being as sustainable as they claim to be. Another way for to achieve this vision is to provide government subsidies to companies that are taking steps towards reaching goals. There can be issues with this and ways to cheat, but I think over time, this might be a good way to align shareholders’ and companies’ interests with the environment (at least to an extent). We can also try to shift our consumption to sustainable companies or boycott products that are overtly unsustainable. There are limits to this, as well, especially when there aren’t alternatives or the options aren’t affordable. Increasing knowledge on alternatives via community events could also help reduce the complexity and make consumer decision making easier. We could also have an app where people enter what they want to buy and the app provides them with alternatives from less-problematic companies that are still affordable close to them. This would, again, help consumers make decisions without needing to go down a rabbit hole of researching information. I did this with soaps once, and eventually just didn’t end up making any changes, because I was so overwhelmed and confused.
Ultimately, it would be nice if environmental considerations became a bigger deciding factor for large businesses, but where there is greed, the vulnerable (including the environment) will be taken advantage of. I hope this isn’t the case one day, but until then, encouraging sustainability via our consumption and spreading awareness can be quite impactful.