What are Sustainable Business Practices?
Simply put, Sustainability means that a resource can be maintained indefinitely. It is naturally replenished as fast, or faster, than it is used.
The Earth provides valuable natural resources (like oil, water, forestry) that humanity uses for its fuel, food, shelter - all aspects of its existence. For a resource to be sustainable, it cannot be used a rate that exceeds the Earth's natural ability to replenish it. If a resource is used more rapidly than it can be replaced, it is not sustainable, and will, at some point in the future, be gone.
The Circle of Sustainability
Sustainability both affects and is affected by many facets of human existence: political, economical, societal, moral. The most effective means to control the impact of sustainability issues on an organization is for the organization to control its impact on sustainability.
Sustainable Development in Business
"Sustainable Development" is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
In practical terms, sustainable business practices are a deliberate effort to conduct business operations with consideration to managing environmental impact. It means identifying and changing practices and mores that waste resources or use energy inefficiently. It means fostering work environments that promote and reward energy conservation and recycling initiatives. It means building space that conforms to USGBC LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines. It means adopting a level of corporate citizenship that will serve as an organization-wide guide for addressing energy and conservation issues today and in the future.
The Rewards of Sustainable Development
The benefits to organizations that implement effective sustainability initiatives and strategies reach well beyond environmental conservation:
- Significant tax credits, incentives and rebates available for LEED and Energy Star compliance
- Reduced energy and overall operational costs with renewable, energy efficient resources
- Increased building valuation with greater market appeal
- Lowered healthcare costs through healthier working environments
Sustainable Business Practices Consulting
DeFeo Associates specializes in the development of sustainable solutions for commercial, institutional and residential buildings, from environmentally-friendly purchasing to LEED green building practices. Our energy and sustainability consultants work with organizations to assess environmental impacts and develop cost- and energy- saving designs, guidelines and practices.