By NETRA MITTAL, Student published for UB
Release date: October 1, 2020
This year’s WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable (WNYSBR), a collaborative group of over 60 member organizations across our region that demonstrate how to integrate sustainability into their organizations to benefit staff, the environment, and their bottom line, showcased various business leaders from a national and regional level. While viewing presentations by four prominent keynote panels about some of the best sustainability practices in their fields, attendees also had a chance to network directly with these keynote speakers.
Topics of discussion included building supply chain resilience, what the value of climate leadership is in a post-Covid19 world, and how businesses can make a net positive impact. There were also a few businesses that were recognized for their outstanding leadership in sustainability. Curbell Inc., Niagara Malt, Perry’s Ice Cream, Triad Recycling, Wendel, and more were awarded for their commitment to reduce material waste, protect our waterways, optimize use of energy, and invest in our communities.
Tesla, MOOG, the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute, the Clean Electronics Production Network, and many more were also present in this year’s virtual WNYSBR. Members of these businesses and organizations presented on the work they’re doing to implement systematic and business oriented solutions. The discussions also highlighted how important it is to build business resilience in global supply chains at a time when Covid19 has left institutions all over the world in a vulnerable state. The Keynote speakers dove into how their businesses continue to work towards addressing climate change and the issue of sustainability.
Some notable presentations include Tesla’s impact report which you can read here. They recycle 100% of the batteries in their control, have partnered with Lithium battery recycling plants, and are further planning to eliminate Cobalt from their batteries.
Additionally, the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute talked about their collaboration with DuPont (a company that has faced significant criticisms for its chemical treatments). They worked to reduce the use of a halogenated solvent in corian production by finding different alternatives and processes to clean prepared samples.
And the Clean Electronics Production Network presented on how to be inclusive of workers by diagnosing and evaluating gaps in knowledge between facilities or chemical safety and workers' understanding. They’ve expanded to make educational material available in 3 languages as well.
The Summit wrapped up on a discussion about leadership and how businesses need to have ambitious goals and treat sustainability as a long term investment. They need to adopt a hyper-transparent, regenerative system that is moving away from doing harm and towards making a net positive impact. Investments must be made in R&D and sustainability as a mission should be independent to a business’ philosophy of shareholder wealth maximization. Businesses need to recognize the value of people and leadership during uncertainty. Organizations need to care for their people because while patents expire and strategies can be mapped, the implementation depends on people.
Sustainable Development Goals:
8. Decent work & economic growth
9. Industry, innovation, & infrastructure
13. Climate action