The Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce hosted an educational pilot program this year called the Sustainable Business Roundtable. Local participants included The Good Water Company, Reynolds Insurance, Positive Energy, Joe’s Diner, Palo Santo Designs, Inn of the Governors and Tomasita’s restaurant. Facilitators were Chris Putnam of Nubu Design, Robb Hirsch of EDL Consulting and Bob Mang of Regenesis.
The purpose of this program was to engage these local businesses and facilitators in the mutual pursuit of sustainability, with the aim of bettering local business, the community and the protection of our environment.
The pilot program started in the fall of 2014 and concluded in May 2015. During the meetings, participants delved into core sustainability principles—including the ecological values of responsibility, interrelatedness, evolution and authenticity—and explored real-life examples of local and national businesses carrying out these principles. To deepen the monthly discussions, select readings were chosen, including chapters from Confessions of a Radical Industrialist by Ray Anderson of Interface; The Responsible Business by Carol Sanford; Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, and Canticle of the Sun by St. Francis de Assisi. To add further insights, participants were also given a copy of the The Top 50 Sustainability Books by Wayne Visser.
The first three months of the program focused on what sustainability means; the next three looked at what we as local businesses can do to evolve business practices to align with environmental stewardship; and the last three months focused on how a consortium of green businesses can—by example and by applying the so called Five Capitals (Financial, Natural, Social, Human and Built)—help engender a thriving sustainable economy in Santa Fe.
Mayor Javier Gonzales and the city of Santa Fe’s renewable energy specialist, John Alejandro, attended the final session of the Sustainable Business Roundtable Pilot Program in which we discussed ways the city and the business community could collaborate on public-private partnerships to reduce emissions, improve recycling and develop a framework for import replacement.
Participants contributed to and gained from worthwhile interactions, ideas and relationships growing out of this year’s pilot program. There was a feeling, however, that this first program may have been too heavy on the philosophical underpinnings of sustainability and not grounded enough in deliverables. Now, as the Green Chamber plans to host a second year of the Sustainable Business Roundtable in 2016, there is a clear intention—in addition to fostering inspiring sustainable business education interaction—to implement a community service project and bring about tangible results in partnership with the city. We welcome a new round of local business owners to participate in next year’s evolving program. The requirements are that you 1) have integrity, 2) bring initiative and 3) join the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce. If you are interested in participating, please contact Glenn Schiffbauer at email@example.com
Glenn Schiffbauer is executive director of the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce.