| Ford Church

Sustainable Businesses Action Project, 3rd Quarter 2007

This quarter, CAP chose to work with local businesses in
order to help them become more sustainable. However, in order for us to offer anyone
advice on sustainability, we thought it’d be a good idea to figure out exactly
what a sustainable business is!

Sustainable Business

Over the course of two weeks of research, we learned that
sustainable businesses are those that are able to meet the needs of their
particular operation without jeopardizing future generations or
ecosystems. In other words, sustainable
businesses use resources and products that are not depleting or damaging
existing ecosystems, social systems and economic systems. Likewise, sustainable businesses provide
products or services that do the same. We learned that, worldwide, it is estimated that only about 6% of
businesses in developed nations are considered sustainable. Interestingly, this percentage is much higher
in developing nations because of the lack of industry and the use of agriculturally-based

Now, if you think of most businesses in our Boulder community, you can see that many of their practices do not adhere to the sustainable
business model. We thought that 6% was
too low for the developed world, so we thought we would try to help a few local
businesses to change some of their practices in order to become more
sustainable. Obviously, we couldn’t
expect business owners to buy solar panels and renovate their heating and
cooling systems because of the high costs. So, we decided to focus on smaller, more practical steps that businesses
could take to change their degree of sustainability.

We teamed up with local businesses The Rio Grande, Boulder
Ice Cream and Pekoe Tea House to see what we could do to help them become more
sustainable. We provided an audit in
which each business would discuss products used, utilities used, resources consumed,
etc. We then analyzed each questionnaire
and addressed non-sustainable practices and offered alternative, sustainable options
for the business. In many cases, these options
had to do with cleaning products, energy conservation practices and recycling
and disposal practices. The local
businesses were extremely receptive to our project and we were really surprised
by how much they were willing to hear what we had to say. We thought they wouldn’t care about what a
bunch of high school kids had to say but, in reality, they thought it was neat
that we were providing a free environmental consultation.

In addition to talking and working with local businesses, we
made t-shirts that supported our campaign and we each learned a ton about
sustainability in the business world. We
hope that future CAP classes continue to work with this topic because there is
so much more that can be done and people are really excited to change to
sustainable business models!

Categories: Action Projects

Back to Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.