People, planet, and profit takes perseverance

 In Environment

planet earth

Yesterday evening the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco presented a panel called: “Green Capital: Profit and The Planet?” Panelists included Peter Liu, Founder of the New Resource Bank; Hunter Lovins, faculty member of the San Francisco-based Presidio School of Management and co-author of Natural Capitalism; Steve Pinetti, Senior Vice President of Kimpton Hotels; and Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land.

My guess is that the question mark in the program title asks: Can businesses implement green and socially progressive best practices without cutting into profits? The answer was a resounding yes. And in many cases, businesses should save money or make more.

Almost any discussion about values-driven business and sustainability will refer to the “triple bottom line,” also known as “People, Planet, Profit.” In the case of Kimpton Hotels, Steve Pinetti described why his company is committed to this approach to business and lessons learned along the way. From his illustrations of Kimpton’s experiences integrating environmental and socially-responsible principles into the business model must lead to a solid and strategic implementation that reaches everyone from the employees to guests. For the program to succeed, the third P – profit, relies on the most effective investment in the first two Ps – “ People and Planet.

It took six months to identify the program and one year to incorporate it into the business plan. It also took one year to find adequate cleaning supplies for the rooms. For example, they knew that if the cleaning agent did not foam, then the cleaning staff would think it was not working and likely use an excessive amount. Now after 3 years, they have identified 44 viable alternatives for their supplies. And according to a guest survey, 16% said that they were there because of the company’s environmental commitment. Based on the responses to their program, Pinetti firmly believes that “people want to do business with folks who share the same values.”

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