‘Green’ the plant, and your bottom lines

Minnesota Waste Wise

More companies are becoming environmentally sustainable, generating profits while also protecting the natural environment. Why? Business owners and managers are realizing the practices that “green” the planet also add “green” to the bottom lines. That’s the premise of Minnesota Waste Wise, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Waste Wise traces its roots to 1994 when business leaders, at the direction of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, decided to take the growing waste issue into their own hands.

Waste Wise has evolved and expanded into full-service consultation for a variety of environmental sustainability measures. If you’re paying too much for waste disposal or are having trouble finding an outlet for a waste material, Waste Wise can help. If you’re looking to re-energize your recycling program or want to green your organization’s supply chain, we’ll get you started. We can also take a look at your energy bills and identify opportunities for reducing operational costs through energy efficiency.

In all of our work, the guiding philosophy remains: Less waste is smart business for a better environment.

Waste Wise successes speak for themselves. Witness these results for our 2013-14 program year:

  • 3,399 direct services provided to more than 962 businesses in 168 Minnesota cities.
  • 646 onsite sustainability and energy consultations.
  • 1,704,221 estimated Year 1 pounds of waste diverted.

At their core, successful sustainability programs benefit growth, return on capital and risk management – including regulatory, reputational and operational risk management. According to McKinsey & Company’s July 2014 Report on Sustainability and Resource Productivity, “a growing body of evidence indicates that sustainability initiatives can help to create profits and business opportunities.” The report notes that “in the last three years, socially responsible investment has increased 22 percent; it now accounts for 11 percent of all assets under management in the United States.

So where should an organization focus its efforts? An excellent starting point is an on-site assessment conducted by environmental sustainability experts. Our Waste Wise staff is only a phone call away. The data and recommendations generated help leaders prioritize plans and allocate resources based on what’s best for their business – whether that’s installing efficient lighting, reducing water use, upgrading equipment or expanding recycling.

Becoming an environmentally sustainable organization is more practical and profit-driven than some may realize. Much of the work lies in simply being less wasteful and controlling the supply chain. The rest depends on a strategic plan with a clear vision created, communicated, implemented and championed by senior management.

A sustainable business is a business that lasts, and now is a great time to set a course. Our Waste Wise and Energy Smart staffs are ready to help your organization implement a strategic and enduring environmentally sustainability plan. Contact Jill Curran today at 651.292.4653 or jcurran@mnchamber.com.

Bill Blazar is interim president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce: www.mnchamber.com.