Texan by Nature 20

Bringing Conservation and Business Together

When the ancients spoke of “a good and spacious land,” they might have been talking about Texas. The diversity of the state is legendary: piney woods and swamps to the east and arid vistas and jagged mountains to the west, rolling prairies to the north and subtropical jungle to the south. Texas is home to eight mountain ranges, eleven distinct eco-regions, 170 species of wildflowers, 142 mammal species, and 540 species of birds. For a state that has the world’s tenth largest economy and leadership across multiple industries, that’s a lot to protect.

In 2011, former First Lady Laura Bush founded Texan by Nature, a nonprofit dedicated to uniting business and conservation leaders in the stewardship of Texas’ bounty of natural resources. In a big state where more than 95 percent of land is privately owned, teamwork and targeted strategies are critical to conservation’s success.

TxN CEO Joni Carswell with TxN Founder, former First Lady Laura Bush

During Texan by Nature’s Leadership Roundtable Series in 2018, business leaders in various Texas cities voiced a desire to know more about the work being done across Texas, learn the best practices for their industries, and be recognized for their innovation, collaboration, and efforts in conservation. Thus, an idea was born: The Texan by Nature 20 (TxN 20).

“The TxN 20 is an effort to recognize innovation and best practices in conservation coming from Texas-based businesses,” shares Texan by Nature CEO and President, Joni Carswell. “The ingenuity and dedication we’re seeing from industry leaders is inspiring. We hope these efforts are expanded and replicated across the Lone Star State and beyond.”

To select the TxN 20, Texan by Nature issued a public call for submissions online, via social media, and through Texas Monthly. They also conducted in-depth research aggregating data from sources like Texas Business Journals, D&B Hoovers, Forbes CSR List, and Fortune 100 & 500, producing an initial list of over 2,000 companies across ten industries with either headquarters or major operations in Texas.

Further research into media, data submissions from companies, annual reports, and corporate social responsibility documents regarding conservation and sustainability efforts narrowed the initial list to 250. From there, the selection team really got to work, scoring the research and submission data on a fourteen-point matrix, ranking efforts like use of green energy and confirmed spending on conservation sources. The resulting scores narrowed the list to 50. A cross-industry Selection Committee of executive leaders came together to rate and rank the final 50 in order to name the inaugural Texan by Nature 20.

The result is the list that follows, representing large companies and small across sectors as diverse as the state itself: transportation, construction, healthcare, agriculture, and more. All of them believe our long-term prosperity and health is dependent upon the conservation of our natural resources, and that private industry has an opportunity to demonstrate a new model of conservation for the world. All of them are putting their money where their mouth is. All of them are Texan by Nature.



Darling Ingredients: TxN 20

Darling Ingredients has grown from a small rendering company to a global organization with more than 200 locations on five continents. At the heart of that growth is Darling Ingredients’ commitment to providing sustainable ingredients to feed and fuel a growing a population.


Cactus Feeders: TxN 20

Cactus Feeders, an Amarillo beef and pork production company, is utilizing intensive rotational grazing of cattle to build soil, help pull carbon from the atmosphere, and increase the soil’s water retention capacity.




CEMEX has cemented its role as an industry leader, supporting alternative fuels, energy-saving initiatives and landscape scale restoration initiatives via conservation areas and corridors in Texas.


American Campus Communities: TxN 20

Austin-based American Campus Communities (ACC) is big on sustainable construction and operations. Founded in 1993, ACC is the largest student housing company in the nation, with 37 LEED® certified properties, more than any other company in the American student housing industry.



Apache Corporation: TxN 20

Apache Corporation, a Houston-based exploration and production company with assets around the world, works to demonstrate that oil and gas operations and environmental stewardship in West Texas are not mutually exclusive enterprises.


NRG Energy: TxN 20

NRG Energy, a leading power generator and retailer, set a goal in 2015 to reduce its absolute emissions 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050—targets more ambitious than those set in both the U.S. Clean Power Plan and Paris Climate Agreement.


Phillips 66: TxN 20

Phillips 66 is a diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company, whose sustainability strategy is based on four pillars — operational excellence, environmental stewardship, social responsibility and financial performance. Sustainability extend throughout its operations, while the company also provides significant support for entities engaged in environmental protection, education, and restoration.

Financial Services


Comerica Bank: TxN 20

Comerica has racked up awards in sustainability, such as a Climate Registry recognition for excellence in greenhouse gas management. Comerica’s Shred Days are signature community events in Dallas and Houston, where the company partners with Iron Mountain to collect, shred, and recycle paper documents for free.


King Land & Water: TxN 20

The Fort Davis-based “Conservation Real Estate Company” was founded by James King, who for twenty years served as Director of Land Protection for The Nature Conservancy, and Tammy King, a longtime real estate broker. Together, they’ve drawn on decades of relationships with landowners, buyers, sellers, and state and federal natural

Food Services


H-E-B: TxN 20

H-E-B demonstrates its commitment to conservation daily in nearly every aspect of its operations, from responsible seafood sourcing to store and warehouse solar installations that have made the company one of the largest private owners of solar power systems in the region.


Farmer Brothers: TxN 20

Farmer Brothers, the publicly traded manufacturer and distributor of coffee, tea, and foodservice items, is planting sustainable practices that are supported by its SEED (Social, Environmental, and Economic Development) strategic framework.



Parkland Health & Hospital System: TxN 20

Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the nation, doesn’t seem a likely place to find eight acres of tranquil green spaces and a park-like wellness garden, but both are elements of the facility’s campus opened in 2015.


Texas Health Resources: TxN 20

Texas Health has invested millions in projects that lowered energy consumption by 2.56 percent over the last five years, saving $15 million in utility costs. Recycling efforts diverted more than 108,000 pounds of pulse oximeters and other medical devices from landfills in 2018 alone. The system also hosts community shredding and



Austin Convention Center: TxN 20

Over the past decade, the operators of the Austin Convention center have consistently managed to drop energy, water, and natural gas usage by 30 percent or more. In 2011, a retrofit of the building received Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® program: lights and fixtures were upgraded


Harvest Seasonal Kitchen: TxN 20

Harvest Seasonal Kitchen offers locally-sourced, seasonal American fare and drinks, with a menu that changes based on what is seasonally available within a 250-mile radius. The kitchen uses every part of the animals and vegetables it receives, using techniques including preserving in jars, dehydrating into powders, and making its own



Dell Technologies: TxN 20

As one of the largest technological corporations in the world, employing more than 145,000 people globally, Dell makes its mark through collaborative partnerships that help reduce electronic waste, promote recycling, repurpose electronic parts, and positively contribute to environmental efforts.


Cirrus Logic: TxN 20

Cirrus Logic, a major player in the semiconductor industry, is driving down vehicle emissions with proactive commuting solutions for its employees. The Austin-based company operates a free-of-charge network of private shuttle services at its major locations in Austin and Edinburgh, Scotland, and also fully reimburses employees that take local trains



DFW Airport: TxN 20

DFW purchases all its electricity from Texas wind farms, helping to reduce their emissions by eighty-three percent on a per passenger basis since 2010 and become the first airport in North America to achieve carbon neutral status.


Southwest Airlines: TxN 20

Southwest’s Repurpose with Purpose program upcycles, downcycles, and recycles discarded items like seat covers, blankets, life jackets, and aircraft engines into useful products. The program is aided by several different partner organizations, like Arise Veteran Foundation that uses leather from Southwest seats in veterans' rehabilitation programs. Southwest has repurposed and


Union Pacific: TxN 20

In 2018, Union Pacific reduced its energy consumption by 3.1 million kilowatt-hours, with a large part of this reduction resulting from employee-driven solutions. Last year, Union Pacific kept 71 percent of its roughly 2.09 million tons of waste from going into landfills.