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The Business Case for Green & Sustainable Businesses
April 22, 2009

Hi, and welcome back to At the Center. I’m Cheryl Irwin, Vice President of The Lancaster Chamber.

Late last year we surveyed members on what motivates you, as business leaders, to take steps toward sustainability and the value you place on incorporating sustainable business practices into your organization. The results are telling.

Ninety-two percent of you stated that having a “sense of responsibility” was your main reason for making the business decision to improve your community and/or your natural environment. Other top answers included “to improve your organization’s reputation” and that it’s “good for business.” 

You also reported, overwhelmingly, that you believe customers are more likely to support businesses known to have green business practices and those known for reinvesting in their community. And, more than seventy-five percent thought adopting sustainable business practices would make their organization more successful in the long run. In other words, there is a competitive business advantage for being green and for being a good corporate citizen.

Based on your feedback, our survey results align with many other national reports that support the business case for green and sustainable business practices. Whether you’re participating in a basic recycling program, working toward green certification, reducing energy consumption or supporting community initiatives, you are helping to make your organization and community more sustainable. 

As a result of yearlong research and this survey information, we’ve implemented programs to address your needs and help you develop your competitive business advantage.

We recently kicked off a new Green Seal certification program, a unique partnership between The Chamber and Green Seal, and the first of its kind in the nation. This pilot program will guide businesses in implementing environmentally friendly practices into their operations by becoming certified or recognized in six areas, including manufacturing, restaurants, lodging, cleaning services, facilities and purchasing.

We also plan to kick off a Green Plus program in partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Development to provide smaller organizations with affordable, actionable information for becoming more sustainable, and to reward them for their efforts.

In addition, our Sustainable Business Practices Forum kicked off this month. The forum is an opportunity for business professionals to share, discuss and learn ways to help their business take steps to be more prosperous and sustainable. Each session is topic driven and will feature tours of companies that have incorporated such practices, when appropriate.

Lastly, if you haven’t already visited The Chamber’s Go Green! section of the web site, I’d encourage you to do so. You will find a host of resources, best practices, articles and other information to help guide you in your quest to become more environmentally conscious.

As set forth in our mission and vision, Lancaster County will become a model of prosperity by being innovative, technologically advanced, economically vibrant, environmentally sound, globally connected and personally fulfilling. We look forward to working with you on accomplishing this mission.

‘Til next time, stay innovative, stay green, and stay At the Center.

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