5 Brands That Actually Did Some Good in 2018

Starbucks banned plastic straws and CoverGirl went cruelty-free

Brands like CVS, Starbucks and CoverGirl made positive changes in 2018. CoverGirl, Starbucks
Headshot of Molly St. Louis

Around this time of year, we start making resolutions to be better people—be it by drinking more water, learning a new skill, connecting with lost friends, or promising not to swear quite as often. Our hope is that these personal pacts will make us healthier, stronger, savvier, or happier and we’ll ultimately lead more fulfilling lives.

And brands make resolutions, too—vowing to update old business practices, decrease their carbon footprint, or stand up for a worthy social cause. Depending on the reach of the brand and the ambition of the resolution, these positive changes have the power to impact millions of people and even set a trend for other companies to do the same.

Take a look back at the incredible resolutions made by some of the world’s top brands in 2018:

Starbucks banned plastic straws

Plastic straws are a convenience that come with a terrible consequence. Because of their small size, they often find their way into the ocean, threatening marine life. This is illustrated in a heartbreaking viral video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in his nose.

It is estimated that 4.4 billion straws will be thrown away each year. Starbucks addressed this issue by vowing to ban plastic straws from its 28,000 global locations by 2020—eliminating 1 billion plastic straws.

Verizon supported renewable energy

The health of our planet is a widespread concern and big moves must be made to stop the depletion of our natural resources. Luckily, Verizon’s resolution addresses that.

At the end of 2017, the company announced its Humanability project, which supports innovative sustainability initiatives. Most recently, Verizon partnered with Hawaiian Electric to work towards the goal of powering Hawaii with 100 percent sustainable energy by 2045—an initiative that will make a huge difference in maintaining the environment and economy.

CVS stopped altering promotional products

Beauty brands naturally want to sell as much product as possible and often Photoshop all promotional materials to make the product look as sensational as possible. The models are left with the illusion of no blemishes, smile lines, crow’s feet and sunspots—contributing to painful body image issues for women.

CVS wants no part of that. This past year, the brand vowed to never Photoshop promotional materials for their beauty products and urged other brands to do the same. Their hope is that women who visit their makeup aisle will leave feeling happy and confident about the way they look.

CoverGirl went cruelty-free

Makeup innovation has historically involved animal testing and consumers made their voices loud and clear that animal cruelty will no longer fly.

In the past, independent makeup brands were the ones mostly leading the charge against animal testing, however CoverGirl made a commitment to no longer test on animals. This year, the company was evaluated and awarded the Leaping Bunny Certification, making CoverGirl the largest makeup brand to achieve cruelty-free certification. Let’s hope that other major makeup companies make this their resolution in 2019!

Amazon set guidelines to support transgender employees

This year, the Trump administration announced its plan to legally define gender by the genitals a person was born with—adding to a long list of discrimination against transgender individuals. Fifty-six brands responded to this news by releasing a joint statement in support of the transgender community and some even took it a step further.

Amazon announced a new set of guidelines focused on how employees and managers should make their transgender teammates feel more included. The guidelines encompassed everything from updated bathroom privileges to new dress code standards to policies about how to support an individual who is transitioning.

This was a knockout year for brand resolutions and is hopefully only a preview of the great strides that will be made in 2019.

@MollStLouis Molly St. Louis is a freelance writer for Adweek.