Guest column: Sustainability steward urges Florida businesses to change their mindset

Florida’s population is estimated to grow by 4 million by 2030. This growth provides tremendous opportunities to businesses in our state, but it also comes with increased risk to Florida’s fragile ecology.

There is considerable opportunity for Florida businesses to communicate a message that they prioritize certain efforts beyond just revenue and profit.  After all, successful business leaders have proven that social responsibility and thoughtful business practices are key to business growth and profitability.

Sustainability, an essential element of social responsibility, is intended to protect Florida’s natural resources and is a priority of Florida’s business community.  Doing so creates a long-term balance where businesses can flourish while promoting the health of the people and communities they serve.

Being sustainable is a mindset where we must think about, and act upon, our state’s natural resources and ecosystem. Across our state, we are connected by air, water, land, and most notably, what is beneath the land. The Florida aquifer is a precious natural resource shared by everyone.  Each time pesticides, plastics and other chemicals are released into the environment, they potentially impact all of us.  If people and companies make concerted efforts to think about and work towards addressing the quantity of waste and their disposal methods, it will certainly help Florida become more sustainable.

At GuideWell, we implemented an audited platform to measure and improve our carbon footprint and saw a 10% reduction in carbon footprint and 8.2% reduction in paper consumption, or nearly 11.7 million pages, in 2021.

Larger companies such as GuideWell are able to dedicate staff and resources to sustainability efforts and put a clear focus on reducing consumption, reducing carbon emissions and other methods of protecting Florida’s natural resources.

However, small to mid-sized businesses may not have the luxury of full-time safety and sustainability personnel.  Often, those businesses are consumed with critical business needs first. They may be focused on revenue, operations and customer service from the moment they wake up to the minute they go to sleep, and sustainability tends to land further down the list of priorities.

The Florida Chamber Safety Council would like to help those small to mid-size companies understand that a sustainability program can be easy to implement, doesn’t have to require a lot of resources, and typically impacts the bottom line of an organization in positive ways. For example, consuming less electricity equals less dollars spent.  The Florida Chamber Safety Council is finding ways to provide resources, plans, and practices which small to mid-size businesses can use to implement a sustainability program that effects their bottom line in a good way while not being labor and cost intensive.

The Florida Chamber Safety Council is working to influence and provide additional tools to employers from a safety leadership perspective. I encourage business leaders to visit to join the movement towards making Florida the safest, healthiest and most sustainable state in America.

John Trevathan is a member of the Florida Chamber Safety Council Advisory Board and Chief Procurement Officer/Vice President of Corporate Services at GuideWell.



*Originally published with The Florida Times-Union.