Many people focus on the attributes that define sustainability: mitigating climate change, reducing pollution, conserving natural resources and the health of the planet. While these are all strong enough reasons to make sustainability a top priority for everyone everywhere, there are more to consider.
Research has shown that customers care about social and environmental responsibility. The trend to select low impact “green” goods and services is growing. Companies that incorporate sustainability best practices into their business model gain a competitive advantage. Even locally, businesses can grow their customer base and retain consumers by showing that San Antonio’s sustainability is a top priority.
Competition for consumer money isn’t the only competition in San Antonio’s business community. Especially during the pandemic, companies are struggling to fill positions in all sectors. In many cases, today’s top talent can make career choices based on a company’s commitment to climate initiatives and the community. These commitments could elevate one career opportunity over another, allowing companies to hire and retain the best employees.
San Antonio has a program that helps the local business community implement or improve workplace sustainability best practices: ReWorksSA. ReWorksSA is the result of a collaboration between the City of San Antonio’s Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) and the Office of Sustainability (OS). ReWorksSA provides consultations, in-person and virtually, at no cost to help businesses and organizations in the areas of recycling, waste reduction, water conservation, energy conservation and transport efficiency as well as resource purchasing and reduction policies. The program is available to businesses of all industries and sizes, as well as churches, schools, community organizations, and nonprofits. ReWorksSA is one of San Antonio’s climate initiatives.
Companies that engage ReWorksSA and successfully complete the process are certified Gold, Silver, Bronze or the highest honor, the Pinnacle Award for sustainability excellence. Certification comes with recognition by city leaders and advertising and marketing campaigns that promote certified businesses to San Antonio residents. Consumers can find and select these businesses from an interactive directory available at www.reworkssa.org.
Consider this interesting case study and proof point. Recently, the San Antonio Convention Sales Department reached out to SWMD and OS to inquire about the city’s sustainability programs. The ministry was preparing a candidacy file for an extremely important annual congress. Meeting Planners International (MPI) would bring thousands of convention, event and meeting planners to a host city in 2024. These planners would then bring their own programs to host cities. MPI’s RFP document included an entire section devoted to a city’s sustainability programs and practices. ReWorksSA’s program design “checked every box” on the MPI questionnaire. If local hotels became certified by ReWorksSA for their sustainability best practices, San Antonio would have a real competitive advantage over other candidate host cities. ReWorksSA has the potential to bring convention dollars into the San Antonio economy.
Interested organizations can find comprehensive information at www.reworkssa.org.