“Follow the Blueprint: Compliance for Sustainability Success” originally appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of IFMA’s FMJ
Staying ahead of new and continually updated regulations is key to maintaining compliance and avoiding potentially costly fines. But did you know, compliance is also a valuable tool that can guide businesses toward greater sustainability and less waste?
A new Great Forest report just published in the July/Aug 2022 issue of IFMA’s Facility Management Journal features case studies from our work around the world that illustrate how compliance can lead to sustainable benefits. Here are the key takeaways.
Regulations are often mandated to help reach local and national sustainability goals. As such, they offer a blueprint for businesses to improve sustainability.
In the case study provided in the report, one building in San Francisco was forced to address the contamination plaguing its recycling in order to comply with San Francisco’s mandatory recycling and composting ordinance. The building had been paying an inflated amount in waste costs, and would have continued to do so year after year, as their highly contaminated recycling stream was being sent to the landfill. By becoming compliant with local regulations, the building not only saved money, but began recycling more, diverting more compostable material, and improving its sustainability performance. The most recent audit of the building’s recycling stream showed a remarkable, almost unattainable 0 percent contamination rate!
Some companies are implementing their own compliance mechanisms, with the goal of reaching internal sustainability targets that showcase their leadership, which is a key factor in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings for investors.
Creating a corporate policy framework for sustainability is especially advantageous for corporations with a wide footprint that face fragmented waste management requirements and diverse country, state and municipal compliance issues. Best practices are a partial solution to coping with different levels of external regulations. Setting internal goals also provides consistency across different production and manufacturing processes to reduce waste.
Compliance with National/Global Goals
Global issues like food waste often lead to the development of national and global goals that are often NOT mandatory, but are reputational pluses for companies that comply.
In the U.S., businesses are encouraged to join a group of corporations, recognized as Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, that have made a public commitment to reduce and report food loss and waste in their operations. Businesses that volunteer to comply will not only put systems in place to reduce waste, but they will also potentially earn invaluable goodwill in the communities they serve, while getting ahead of food waste regulations that are almost certain to come down the pipeline.