Last week, I hosted a luncheon for the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future. There were top female executives from Coke, Delta , Georgia Power and Ernst & Young. There were also young entrepreneurs and representatives from initiatives like the Zero Waste Zone and the High Performance, Healthy Schools Program. Karen Flanders-Reid, WNSF board member and former Director of Sustainability at the The Coca-Cola Company moderated the discussion and shared her Top Five Things Businesswomen Need To Know About Sustainability.In addition to Karen’s insights on corporate sustainability I wanted to share some of the initiatives, resources and tips we talked about.
Delta Airlines recognized that by involving its 80,000 employees and annual customer base of 160 million people in a voluntary recycling program they could have a big impact. Delta was the first airline to introduce in-flight recycling. Taking flight in 2007, this comprehensive program collects and diverts aluminum cans, plastic cups and bottles, newspapers and magazines from landfills in 26 U.S. airports. In 2010, passengers and flight crews had succesfully recycled over 1 million pounds of material and donated almost $36,000 through Delta’s Force for Global Good to Habitat for Humanity.
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For the global beverage leader The Coca-Cola Company, it is about creating value and making a difference. From being one of the first members of Keep America Beautiful to creating the first bottles made from partially recycled plastic, sustainabillity is embedded in Coca-Cola’s culture. According to Coca-Cola, if the ingredients ( water, sugar and fruit) and communities in which it operates are not sustainable, then the company’s business and success is not sustainable.
You can learn more about all the ways The Coca-Cola company is taking corporate social responsibility seriously at LivePositively.com.
• Find the waste. Identify sources of waste and find a solution. Big sources of waste are one-use items like straws or to-go cups. Find an alternative like Ted’s Montana Grill and use paper straws instead of plastic. Another idea is to replace your employee’s trashcans with recycling bins like Toto USA. This simple practice makes employees think differently about the materials they use each day and begin to make changes in their personal lives.
• Do the right thing for your employees. Happy, healthy employees are more productive. Consider what you are buying. Choose items like VOC paint, toxic-free carpet and proper filtration. Remember what’s good for your health is good for the planet. If you are unsure about a product look for the Green Guard seal on products.
Start today! Operating a sustainable business is good for the planet and good for your bottom line.
Check out these websites for more resources and inspiration -
The Safe Cosmetics Act
Environmental Working Group
Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database
Zero Waste Zone
Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future