Can Business and Environmentalism Co-Exist Peacefully?

by Ron Haynes

Recently, I was eating a wonderful meal in Longview, Texas, at one of my favorite deli’s, Jason’s deli. The stores are always exceptionally clean, the food selection is outstanding, the freshness is top notch, and the salad bar is the *best* in my opinion. Everything at this deli is free of artificial trans fats and is free of MSG. The flavor of EVERYTHING is simply outstanding and their prices are ridiculously low for the value you receive.

While I was enjoying the salad bar with a bowl of tomato basil soup, my eye was drawn to a table top card entitled “Care To Conserve.” Jason’s deli has enacted several measures and initiatives in an attempt to reduce their energy consumption and, according to the company, “incorporating even the smallest sustainable measures helps the world we share. It’s a journey and this is where we are, so far:”

  • To go cups and packaging are all foam free.
  • Jason’s deli supports organic farming and uses organic products wherever they’re available.
  • Sponsor American Forest’s Global Re-Leaf program by planting thousands of trees in the South Texas Wildlife Refuge.
  • In the process of developing multiple locations that will be run primarily on solar power.
  • Every deli that’s within a deregulated area buys energy from providers that use some form of alternative energy.
  • To Go plates/forks/napkins are only available upon request.
  • New deli construction includes fluorescent lighting, motion detecting restroom lighting, water saving toilets, and solar powered faucets.
  • Jason’s deli participates in available recycling programs (paper products are preferred).
  • Conference calls and webinars have replaced many flights and travel for meetings.
  • Employees are trained in ongoing education programs on organics, sustainable agriculture, conservation, environmental protection, and social responsibility.
  • “We Care To Conserve” ideas are encouraged at every level of the company.

What does all this mean to for their business? Admittedly, “green” marketing efforts can produce profits in the black, but when a company takes the time to thoroughly think through its processes, from construction to daily operations, it can find ways to reduce expenses AND help keep our environment clean.

Replacing corporate travel with conference calls and webinars saves tens of thousands of dollars. One flight can cost over $1,500 and when you add the hotel and rental car costs and you run into some serious money. Plates, forks, and napkins also have a cost. It isn’t very much on a per unit basis, but why just give them away when the vast majority are never used and end up in the trash? Using solar energy to power the faucets, and even the entire deli is a great idea. I know from experience that a store of that size probably has a $4,000 to $7,000 utility bill. Reducing it to zero, even if it costs $500,000 will generate long term returns. Motion sensing restroom lighting makes sure that energy is used only when it’s needed. That has a huge cost savings. All of these ideas and initiatives are entirely compatible with the goals of business AND environmentalists.

If businesses like Jason’s deli (and even Starbucks) can stop looking at environmentalists as “on the fringe” and environmentalists can stop looking at business people as “robber barons of resources,” if business can start looking at environmental goals as achievable while still making a healthy profit and environmentalists can admit that capitalism will help them reach their goals….we might be able to make some progress on both fronts.

[tags]green, environmentalism, environment, environmental, business, conserve, organic, lighting, deli[/tags]

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 989 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.



{ 12 comments }

Jeff@My Super-Charged Life

It is good to see businesses taking real steps toward becoming greener. I’m a big fan of Jason’s Deli so I’m glad to know they are taking a leadership role and setting the pace for others. Being a good steward of our world is certainly the right thing to do!

Ron

#Jeff→

I usually eat there 3 or 4 times when I travel to Texas. They really have great food on top of everything else. I simply LOVE their tomato basil soup with their salad bar.

David@The Good Human

Sounds like a fantastic place; wish I had one by me!

Ron

#David@The Good Human→

There’s one in Riverside, a bunch in Arizona, and one in Albuquerque. Stop in if you get the chance. I personally love the place. Wish there was one closer to MY home too!

Patrick

My wife and I both *love* Jason’s Deli! We are in TX for vacation right now, so I think we will try to visit one while we are here. There aren’t any where we live.

It’s good to see they are doing to much to conserve resources and save money. In the long run, I think it will really pay off for them.

Adam Lehman

Read Cradle to Cradle.
Done

Ron

#Adam Lehman→

Is that a book?

Elliott - 21st Century Dad

Often times, going green is seen as an inconvenience and a hit to our wallets. I’m glad you highlighted a business that is doing green things that result in a positive impact on the bottom line. With a little forethought and strategy, going green can definitely put you in the black.

Ron

#Elliott – 21st Century Dad→

Hey, thanks Elliott! I’ve always liked their food, but when I saw their environmental initiatives and started thinking about how they impact the profit line, I was impressed. I love the idea of using solar power for the entire restaurant. Not every business can do this (it helps to be located in Texas) but if most gave it a shot, they could at least reduce their electricity bill. “A penny saved is a penny earned.” :)

Ari Herzog

Austin, Texas-headquartered Whole Foods is a leader in not just organic foods but also green practices, ranging from providing silverware to eat-in diners, composting old food, and efficiency in lighting and HVAC.

Up here in Newburyport, Massachusetts, about 5 miles south of the New Hampshire border, I point you to The Tannery, a collection of about 50 restaurants, shops, and offices that are housed in renovated millworks buildings which are topped with nearly 400 solar panels. The PV panels offset about 20 percent of the Tannery’s electric bill.

Another company, Mark Richey Woodworking recently received the city’s first permit to erect a wind turbine. More applications are pending.

Massachusetts may be no Texas in terms of statewide Kyotoesque protocols but there are hundreds of businesses that either design, manufacture, supply, or end-use solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal tanks, wood pellet burning stoves, and the like.

Ron

#Ari Herzog→
That is really great. I think that as more and more advances are made in energy efficiencies, you’ll see greater numbers of businesses getting on board with “green” initiatives. I was watching “Dirty Jobs” with Mike Rowe on the Discovery channel last night as he was cleaning some windmills at a wind farm in Oklahoma and thought, “I would love to have just ONE of those in my yard, supplementing my electricity use…just maybe not one that large. :)

They ARE MASSIVE!

Ari Herzog

Do you know of the Discovery Channel’s offshoot, Planet Green? One of its hosts is Summer Raynes Oakes, who was awarded <a href=”http://earthfirst.com/earthfirstcom-has-like-a-tractor-b hottest green girl.

I subscribe to a Comcast cable package, but this new channel is the next level up which unfortunately is not the value of green I feel like spending right now.

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