What Is Your Business Doing For The Planet? By Julie Gengo


Believe it or not this is Earth Day’s 40th anniversary. Of course everyday is Earth Day around here. Thankfully this is not a Hallmark holiday (if it is, I wonder if their cards are made sustainably?) but rather a day to reflect and energize on preserving this planet. So maybe you are doing your part but what about local and global businesses? To my surprise, many have already taken the initiative by reducing their energy consumption amongst other things that lead to CO2 (and other warming gases) reduction. I subscribe to the Environmental Leader daily newsletter which does a great job at filling me in on who is doing what. Maybe most of these companies aren’t making changes for altruistic reasons but rather changes that will save them a ton of money while saving tons of emissions along the way. I can certainly live with that.

One of my goals is to help companies become more sustainable whether by helping them revamp their building energy usage or working with them to green their supply chain. The first thing to do is to take simple steps like changing light bulbs and turning off computers and equipment. According to sustainability specialists, spending a little bit of money up front can save you millions in just a few years.

In SoCal, we have a fast-food restaurant chain called Rubio’s Mexican Grill and I am happy to report that they are one of the emerging businesses who, without mandate of any kind, are doing a tremendous job at reducing their carbon footprint in all aspects of their business. The food is pretty good as well. Go Rubio’s! Check out their eco site and learn more. From hosting local beach clean-ups to, implementing recycling programs to serving sustainable food, Rubio’s is an excellent example of a company that is giving back to the planet with the best interest of the community in mind.

Here is one area where they are making an impact:

Environmentally-Friendly Packaging & Printing
“With an eye towards a greener tomorrow, we plan to eliminate Styrofoam packaging and implement eco-friendly packaging. In several of our restaurants, we are currently testing eco-friendly take-out packaging, with the goal of a 2011 system-wide introduction. In addition, we are exploring compostable plates and take-out bags. In the mean time, it is our hope that our guests will act responsibly and recycle plastic bags rather than dispose of them in the trash. Some of the changes we have already made to improve packaging and printing include:

* Reusable Rubio’s a-Go-Go® Catering bags
* Conversion to Bottle Box™ salad bowls in May 2010. These bowls are made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and are 100% recyclable.
* Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)-certified paper cups
* Conversion to bio-plastic (compostable) beer cups
* Compostable bleach-free napkins
* Paper menus made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper and 10% recycled materials

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