April 29, 2017 marked the second People’s Climate March (PCM) in less than three years’ time. Over 200,000 people from hundreds of organizations and all walks of life gathered and marched from the Capitol Building to the White House, with over three hundred sister marches happening throughout the US and the world. The first People’s Climate March in New York City on the 21st of September 2014 was a statement made by the people of this country to demand that the US finally take up the role as a leader in working to mitigate the human caused factors associated with climate change.
The march April 29th was to demand that environmental protection and climate policy not be dismissed in haste. The idea is that massive changes being experienced through both weather events (drought, tornadoes, record breaking storms, rising temperatures, etc.) and resource depletion creating huge environmental risks due to human activity and population growth must be addressed.
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt
One such organization present at the DC march was US Green Chamber Member, Plan for a Better Environment, Inc, known as Plan BE. Plan BE is a not-for-profit organization providing a web-based platform and program to assist small and medium sized businesses in going green and verifying their efforts to do so, with a green business certification.
“Going green may seem a warm and fuzzy term, but in actuality as it applies to business, it’s about operational efficiency and sustainability,” says Missy Trumpler, President and founder of the organization.
“There are a variety of benefits for business owners as evidenced by the fact that now over 81% of Fortune 500 companies have sustainability programs and actively participate in reporting on those programs,” she continued. “The issue is, 89% of all businesses in the US have less than 20 full-time employees. They don’t necessarily have the funds to hire a full-time sustainability manager, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested or wouldn’t benefit from applying the triple-bottom-line business model to their own business. The fiscal and social rewards can be enormous and it helps save resources which at the end of the day, are finite.”
Plan BE was created to help those small to mid-sized businesses and make the process trackable and easy to apply. This comprehensive program stimulates the marketplace that every day people are participating in, not just big box stores and mammoth corporations. Applying green processes to the workplace creates a healthy environment for employees, identifies and reduces unnecessary waste, and recognizes the role that businesses play in leading the way for social, economic, and environmental change.
Identifying different reduced-impact options from purchasing to cleaning to lighting within a business can offer overall workplace improvements and reduced operating costs. And then of course, there is public response. Green initiatives have steadily been increasing in popularity and economic studies have shown that companies utilizing green technology and selling green products have seen sales alone jumping somewhere around 20 percent as of 2010.
Plan for a Better Environment was designed to be an affordable web-based platform and program that costs $120 to get started and provides the roadmap to apply the triple-bottom-line method to any business. If a businesses chooses to become a certified green business, certification fees are based on a sliding scale by number of employees ranging from $500 to $2000. Certification applies for three years as long as the business membership and on-going tracking is maintained.
Redefining a business as a sustainable (green) business can take some time, but there are both immediate and long term returns on investment. Not only is there an immediate value of continuous improved efficiency and employee engagement, but also the larger value that making these changes helps preserve natural resources in two ways. One, it focuses on using resources that are sustainable. Two, the program also focuses on reducing the amount consumed.
“If 89% of all businesses in this country are small businesses, so far we’ve missed the boat by not reaching the demographic with the largest impact. Just as nearly a half a million people came together and marched on April 29th for their voices to be heard, Plan BE was created so the huge impact of small businesses doing the right thing can be felt,” Trumpler stated.
“I’ve never worked with a business that didn’t save money and increase profitability by applying the triple-bottom-line business model,” She said. “Sustainability should be for all, not just the top 10%. Plan BE is about making that universal accessibility a realty.”
For more information on the Plan BE program and becoming a Plan BE Business Member visit www.planforabetterenvironment.org