Labels and LIFE: With TLMI's certification program, your business can become part of the environment.

Author:Bandy, Rosalyn

At the beginning of every year, I look forward to reading The State of Green Business Report, a publication of research from GreenBiz and Trucost. I like it because it's an assessment of trends and metrics on how--and how much--companies are moving the needle on the most pressing environmental challenges. What heartened me in this year's report was the fact that, in the face of rollbacks of so many US environmental policies, there has been a rise in companies, sectors and local governments taking action on the connection between climate change and business risk. It's a pretty exciting time to watch companies take on the hard work of moving the needle from doing "less bad" for the environment to having deliberately positive impacts. As shining examples of this, Walmart has committed to remove a billion metric tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by 2030 in what is known as "Project Gigaton. " Apple pledged to make iPhones and computers through a closed-loop supply chain by using 100% recycled materials, ending their reliance on mined minerals and metals. Smaller companies and startups are making moves, too, by increasing renewable energy purchases and making commitments that are often perceived as only within the purview of the world's largest companies.

In my first year as TLMI's environmental director, I am very inspired by companies within our membership. We have a good many that go beyond simply meeting compliance and minimum thresholds to believing that their business has the power to be a positive force in the world. Sorting through the many aspects of sustainability, it's easy to become overwhelmed and not know where or how to begin. It's also easy to try to spread your efforts so thin and into so many areas that the results become diluted. What I've seen is that many of our members have chosen priorities in the areas where they feel they can make the most significant change right now.

When TLMI members want to start on their sustainability journey, I recommend that they begin from the place where they are, even if they have not fully addressed all of the environmental impacts that they need to. Companies can easily move forward by making changes in certain areas and then take things one bite at a time. As an example of this, we have companies that have achieved LEED Certification, use electric vehicles for their fleet, utilize only renewable energy, recycle all of their waste, and have "green teams" that meet monthly with the...

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