Go Green (or Go Home)!
Sometimes the simplest actions make the most difference. Sharing a kind word or just holding the door open a couple of extra seconds for a stranger can be the one moment that turns an entire day around—or, what they call in the sports world, a “game changer.” This sort of singular moment happened when Dan Harris and Marco DeGeorge, owners of Los Angeles apparel manufacturer, Bella, decided to form an Environmental Action Committee within their company. The committee’s goal was to help the environment by creating an efficient company with a corporate culture that promotes eco-friendly practices. The first meeting this past February included a gift from the owners to each of the department heads who sit on the committee. The gift was a book titled, “Let My People Go Surfing,” by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of outdoor apparel manufacturer Patagonia. It detailed Chouinard’s eco-friendly, people-conscious business philosophy. The book was not assigned, mandated or required reading for the committee members, but simply given as inspiration for acting and thinking environmentally. In just a few short months, it is clear the program is a resounding success. According to Emily Berstch, who heads the committee, the changes at Bella have been both profound and surprising. “I keep peeling off more and more layers, and seeing more and more things that can be done,” said Berstch. Things like instituting a recycling program that accounts for 6,000 lbs. of scrap material and lowering the company’s waste management costs when collections dropped from twice a week to twice a month. But committee members didn’t just address business practices, they also worked with employees to reduce personal office waste. The company purchased refillable water bottles to eliminate disposable plastic ones—2.5 million of which are discarded by Americans every hour. For Bella and its employees, being green as a company is a matter of common sense and concerted effort. In the end, Berstch thinks being eco-friendly is just about, “breaking it down into the little step-by-step things that you can do in your daily life.”