CAPACCIO’s Wayne Bates, PhD, PE, to moderate AIM Sustainability Roundtables Reply

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Your customers may soon demand it. Insurers support it. Investors expect it. Join the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Sustainability Roundtable to learn more about It. The “it” is sustainability, which you may know by one of its other names: corporate social responsibility, corporate responsibility, environmental sustainability, or sustainable development. Moderated by Wayne Bates, Ph.D., Vice President at Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc., and adjunct professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, upcoming sessions will be held on various dates in Milford and in western Massachusetts.

The elements of sustainability – economic prosperity, social well-being, and environmental stewardship – hold growing importance to customers, employees, investors and regulators. Well-run companies in many industries have been operating in a sustainable manner for years because it’s good business. Today, these companies are requiring their suppliers to do the same. If you’re not already fielding questions from your customers and employees about your sustainability efforts, get ready. It’s only a matter of time.

Where can you turn to get the information you need to create, manage or fine-tune your company’s sustainability program? Register for one or all AIM Sustainability Roundtables for expert analysis, best practices and networking.

Price
AIM Members $50/session, $150/season pass
Non-Members $100/session, $300/season pass

Central Massachusetts Roundtables, Waters Corporation, 34 Maple Street, Milford

Session 1 March 7 – Defining Sustainability and Determining the Three Responsibilities

Session 2 June 6 – Evaluating the Current Sustainability State of an Organization

Session 3 September 12 – Determining the Future Sustainability State of an Organization

Session 4 December 5 – Strategy Mapping/Sustainability Reporting

Register:
http://aimnet.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT0yMDM5NjA4JnA9MSZ1PTc1NjA4MDQ1NSZsaT0xMDAzNTA3NQ/index.html

Western Massachusetts Roundtables

Session 1 February 12- Defining Sustainability and Determining the Three Responsibilities
Peoples Bank, Holyoke

Session 2 May 14 – Evaluating the Current Sustainability State of an Organization
Pelican Products, S. Deerfield

Session 3 August 13 – Determining the Future Sustainability State of an Organization
Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, Great Barrington

Session 4 November 12 – Strategy Mapping/Sustainability Reporting
Food Bank of Western MA, Hatfield

Register:
http://aimnet.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT0yMDM5NjA4JnA9MSZ1PTc1NjA4MDQ1NSZsaT0xMDAzNTA3NQ/index.html

Participation is limited to people who maintain direct responsibility for sustainability at their companies. We welcome your interest, expertise and passion, as AIM introduces a new resource to help Massachusetts businesses.

Questions? Please contact Gloria Fischer at gfischer@aimnet.org or 617.262.1180 or Waynes Bates at wbates@capaccio.com or 508.970.0033 ext. 121.

CAPACCIO’s 2013 Compliance Calendar Available For Download Reply

CAPACCIO has just posted its 2013 Compliance Calendar! Always a hot item, our calendar provides 2013 deadlines for meeting regulatory requirements required by the MassDEP, EPA, DOT, and OSHA. In addition to these requirements, there are many non-date specific requirements throughout the year including:

• Initial training and annual or periodic retraining or refresher training required by
  OSHA or other regulatory agencies for affected employees
• Inspections, testing, monitoring, and/or certification of equipment and systems
• Payment of compliance assurance, renewal, or usage fees
• Permit, certificate, and license renewals
• Internal or external program audits and reviews
• Documentation and recordkeeping

Visit http://www.capaccio.com/Resources/DLoads/AnnCal/dload_anncal.html
to download an Adobe pdf version which includes brief summaries of the various health and safety requirements mandated by OSHA in their General Industry Standards and any corresponding timelines. An additional separate version of the calendar, compatible with Microsoft Outlook, is also available for download.

Download your calendar today! For more information on any of these requirements, please contact Lucy Servidio at 508-970-0033 ext. 114 or lservidio@capaccio.com.

Sustainability & Social Media: From the Fine Print to the Headline Reply

Consumer Reports recently released their third annual “Naughty and Nice List.” The 10 companies in each category were based on nominations from Consumer Reports staff and Facebook friends. It should be noted that the lists only reflect a specific policy or practice, and not the company as a whole.  The “naughty” list consists mostly of companies’ weak return policies, and the details hidden in the fine print.  On the other hand, the “nice” list highlights companies with extraordinary policies and exceptional guarantees that place them ahead of the pack.

This brings to mind the relationship between brand value, one of the less tangible values involved in sustainability, and the impact of social media. Social media is everywhere we turn – it seems that you can follow nearly every company on Twitter and Facebook, and pin your favorite products on your Pinterest board. With constant updates available on our cell phones, company websites have almost become passé.  

social media logosGood press on any of these social media channels can be an opportunity for a company to gain new customers, but it can also serve as a risk to companies.  Social media can pull that tricky policy from the fine print right to a headline, forcing companies to face the consequences or do damage control. With access to the internet at our fingertips, we can easily look up an article or video from years ago, regardless of how it reflects on the company. Customer reviews are also available on third party websites, which, positive or negative, the companies being reviewed cannot control. With the holiday shopping season upon us, is it possible that people may look at the “Naughty and Nice List” to influence their purchasing decisions?  

This raises the question; are you using social media to  share your sustainability efforts? If not, why? Social media can help companies instantly and transparently communicate their programs to customers, employees, and supply chains. Some of the companies that show up on the “naughty” list aren’t bad companies – they just need to be better communicators of their policies. Customers and employees want to know that a company will do the “right thing” but they also want to hear and see them doing the “right thing.” So if you are unjustly on the “naughty” list, or want to be on the “nice” list, think about how social media can benefit your company.

Is Styrofoam going out of style? Reply

In a recent town meeting, the town of Brookline, MA banned restaurants from using polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam) containers and cups. This decision follows suit locally with Amherst, MA and Great Barrington, MA as well as 100 other cities nationwide.

Why are municipalities so concerned about polystyrene if it is so lightweight and made of 95% air?

  • Polystyrene is petroleum-based, which is a non-renewable resource
  • There are potential adverse health effects for the workers that make it
  • The chemical can leech into food and beverages inside the container
  • It is difficult to recycle and not biodegradable so it is commonly dumped into landfills
  • It is a common source of litter and can harm animals (Source: Green Restaurant Association)

Post-consumer recycled paper content, bamboo, or plant-based plastics are environmentally friendly materials that can be used as alternatives. A quick search on the internet leads one to find hot cups composed of wood pulp and biodegradable plastic, entirely renewable resources that are compostable (Source: Branch). Quick service restaurants like KFC (part of Yum! Brands) have already made the change by implementing side containers that are reusable.  As a result, they aimed to reduce their foam packaging by 62% and plastic use by 17%.

Thinking about this in relation to the sustainability value chain, what motivates or pushes company to make more sustainable decisions? In this case, coffee shops and other quick service restaurants are being urged to make changes both from a customer and a regulatory standpoint. It begs the question, will the java and quick service restaurant giants only implement the change where mandated, or across the whole company?  Do these customer and regulatory driven changes cause companies to find alternatives faster than they normally would?  Let us know what you think about the ban, and how restaurants may comply with the ban.

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