This month's issue of Baking Management focuses on the environ-mental movement of the day — sustainability. Let's face it, if the word “sustainability” isn't part of your vocabulary, you're probably a bit behind the times.
To some, jumping on that “green” bandwagon might be every bit as intimidating as the social media bandwagon — not necessarily because you don't believe you should do more to protect the environment, but because the cost is so prohibitive. Yet what I gather is that every little step taken toward improving the environment counts, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem.
During my recent travel aboard U.S. Airways, I happen to pick up the airline's April issue bearing the cover headline, Going Green: 10 Businesses that Bloomed (then Boomed). Although none of the 10 companies mentioned were commercial bakeries, three are food industry: Coca-Cola Enterprises, Starbucks and New Belgium Brewing. But that's neither here nor there, as that isn't the point I'm trying to make. Regardless of the type of company listed, every company pursues sustainability in its own way.
New Belgium Brewing's Fat Tire ale is made using wind and solar power. Coca-Cola has reduced packaging weight by making small changes, such as reducing the size of plastic bottle caps, and it has ramped up its recycling efforts. Starbucks supports sustainable coffee farming, is working toward a solution for its disposable cups and continually works toward reducing its environmental footprint. The University of New Hampshire transports methane produced at a nearby landfill through a filtration plant to the school's power plant in partnership with Waste Management. And the list goes on and on.
Each company listing in the magazine included a subhead describing a particular strategy recommended when pursuing green principles. Those strategies are as follows: be transparent; make it fun; be ambitious; make green luxurious (a bit out there perhaps for bakeries, but appropriate for the Ritz-Carlton); be collaborative, don't do it alone; evolve; behind the scenes (i.e., not everything has to be blatant); motivate through inspiration and self-interest; and think smart.
The overriding theme I gathered from the article is that there's always a better way. By instilling a culture of collaboration, these companies continually strive toward improvement, which is why they often reinvent themselves. In today's world, everyone is searching for a way to green up. Just take one step at a time.