These are crazy times. Species are going extinct. Natural disasters are increasing. Our carbon emissions are increasing. Meanwhile, our quality of life seems to be decreasing. Our global temperature is warming, while our sentiment toward others seems to be cooling. Our population is experiencing more cyber attacks and asthma attacks. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming, but there are things that give us hope, like those businesses that make it their life’s work to change the world for the better.

With the start of a new year — and decade — one massive business announced a very bold goal: to be carbon negative by 2030 and to remove from the environment ALL the carbon the company has emitted, either directly or by electrical consumption, since it was founded in 1975. That business is Microsoft. (Read: Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030)

This is a big deal. And they deserve mega kudos. Way to go, Microsoft!

But enough about them, let’s talk about the HEC Green Businesses who are proving that Indiana is also home to companies that care about our climate crisis. These 45+ businesses (and counting!) are installing 1,000’s of kilowatts of solar energy. They are sourcing organic ingredients and sustainable packaging. They are reducing, reusing and recycling, and inspiring others to do the same. They are helping us gift green, both now and in the long-term. They are educators. And they are influencers.

“The most important part of Microsoft’s announcement is its commitment to advocate for public policies that will drive down emissions across the economy.”

Elizabeth Sturcken, Managing Director with the Environmental Defense Fund, in this Sustainable Brands article: Microsoft Will Remove More Carbon from the Atmosphere Than It Emits by 2030

Our locally-owned and -operated HEC Green Business partners add their voices to ours as employers and contributors to our local economy in a powerful way. We look to them to provide expert testimony, to contact their legislators, to write letters to the editor, and to disseminate information among their communities. Their commitment to advocate alongside HEC is what sets them apart from many of their peers.

When we encourage you to support our HEC Green Business partners, it’s not just because they give us money (though we appreciate that too!). It’s because our state needs entrepreneurs, business owners, and workers who are leaders in sustainability; who value eco-friendly as much as economics; who use their voice for improved public policy; and who set — and achieve — bold goals.

When these businesses thrive, our future looks brighter. So, the next time you see a Facebook post about an HEC Green Business doing good things, we hope you’ll take the time to “Like” it, leave a comment, and maybe even click over to their page to give them a thumbs up. And the next time you need a product or service, consider looking at our list of HEC Green Businesses to see if there’s one that fits your needs. Then, when you patronize an HEC Green Business, spread the word (using #HECGreenBiz) so others will be inspired to shop with their values too.