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Sustainable Solutions for Business - October 2015 - by Sam Euston

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Sustainable Solutions
October 2015 - by Sam Euston
Capitalism, Business, Sustainability and Future Generations - Part 2

 

 

by Sam Euston

At the recent Sustainable Enterprise Conference, Blair Kellison (CEO of Traditional Medicinals) discussed Traditional Medicinals very successful sustainable business practices. This is a continuation of a report on his talk.

Can business widen its focus regarding self interest and profitability gain, to also include its shareholders, stakeholders, partnerships and employees ? Would they be willing to consider these “partners” as a segment of their investment portfolio, profit center(s) and enhancement to their ability to compete? If so, what businesses?

• California’s small businesses employed half or 6.5 million of the state’s private workforce in 2012.* 

• Almost all firms with employees are small. They make up 99.2 percent of all employers in the state.* 

• Firms with fewer than 100 employees have the largest share of small business employment. * (Source: SUSB – Statistics of U.S. Businesses)

According to our Sonoma County Economic and Demographic Profile 2014, the majority of businesses in Sonoma County employ under 100 people, of that group the majority (approximately 7,500) employ 1 to 4 people. 

This translates into our community empowerment to encourage local business (which is a majority) to model Traditional Medicinals. 

We, as concerned businesses, consumers and stewards of our Sonoma Community walk our “sustainability” talk:

We proactively ask and research (like TM’s Drake Sandler) the conditions regarding where and how the raw materials our suppliers provide us, are collected and/or extracted?

We request and consider the conditions of our suppliers?

We consider and address matters such as “On average, for every pound of trash we dispose of in our garbage container, the companies creating these products generate nine pounds of garbage.” How is this being addressed by our local businesses, by us as consumers?

We proactively ask and consider working conditions, along with the treatment and living wages of employees (of both ours businesses and of those businesses we support)?

We voice and encourage adopting sustainable employee practices could improve the bottom line. (Note: This could also attitudinally incentivize those unproductive employees. Adopting these practices can raise their accountability, productivity and responsibility to their team partners as well as the business). Asking the question; is this a practice that’s being considered, and/or implemented?

But what about all the time and expense to do all this “sustainable” research, change, cost and additional work? 

Maintaining the status quo, business as usual approach; we’re already beginning to see its effects on our climate, our emergency services providers, our natural resources (such as water and drought conditions) and this is just the beginning.

According to Global Footprint Network , our North American lifestyle requires 5 planets to support us; is this path to extinction what we want to encourage, deny, teach and leave as our legacy? 

What about our abilities to creatively adopt solutions that empower ourselves now and for future generations? Mark Z. Jacobson, Director of the Atmosphere Energy Program, has already provided us with viable models and sustainable solutions. I’ve heard the line of thought that we’re providing an opportunity, for future generations to use their education and knowledge to creatively adapt to the challenges of their environment. This irresponsible rhetoric, leaves our garbage, mess and toxic pollution for someone (our children and future generations) to live in (heat up) and deal with. 

Income inequality and climate change are the greatest issues we face today.

Sustainable business many be the only way to positively effect, income inequality and climate change. We are each the problem, and the solution.