Last week, I had the good fortune to co-present on the topic “How to Join the Women Leading the Green Economy,” with Grace Tiscareño-Sato. Grace is the author of “Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them.” The book is the first to examine the role of Latino entrepreneurs in the emerging green economy.
Our presentation was at the 3rd Annual Women’s Business Expo held by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (video highlights are available below). We focused on three main topics:
- Women and sustainable businesses are a powerful combination. The rise of women-owned businesses and sustainable businesses is presenting us with a unique opportunity to reshape business as we know it.
- Many women business owners are already active in the emerging green economy. Examples include women like Carmen Rad of CR&A Custom, a large-format printing company that uses biodegradable materials, and Sandra Artalejo, a fashion designer who repurposes discarded materials into new products.
- How you can go green in your business. This involves looking at the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. While most businesses are quite adept at looking at the profit component (a necessity to survival in business!), the focus on people and planet tends to be much less prominent.
In terms of reducing your impact on the planet, areas to look at include:
- Energy and water conservation: How can your business reduce its energy and water consumption?
- Solid waste reduction and pollution prevention: How can your business divert waste from the landfill and minimize use of harmful chemicals?
- Production and distribution: How can your business modify its production and distribution practices to make it more environmentally responsible?
To ensure that your business is having a positive impact on people, areas to look at include:
- Employee wellness: How does your business provide for the well-being of your employees?
- Community impact: How does your business support its community?
- Supply chain impact: How are people impacted throughout your supply chain?
These are all important areas to look at in your business as you consider what you can do to go green and develop a sustainable business. The actual practice of greening your businesses in these areas may seem to be overwhelming, but it’s important to realize that the business case for sustainability has already been made: businesses that minimize their environmental impacts can in turn reduce their expenses, while also generating goodwill among employees and customers, which can lead to higher revenues. The businesses that do this will also realize a competitive advantage in being able to tap new markets. Finally, this is just an overview (we only had 45 minutes!), but fortunately, there are several resources available:
- Certifications: Bay Area Green Business Program and B Corps
- Networking and advocacy groups: Sustainable Business Alliance and the Green Chamber of Commerce
- News and information: Greenbiz, Triple Pundit, and Sustainable Industries
This short video captures some of the highlights from the Expo:
Are you a woman with a green business? Share your story below!