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Guest Commentary: Can We Sustain?

An AkzoNobel press conference relayed to me that businesses are extracting more from the environment than they’re putting back into it. What are you doing to minimize your eco footprint?

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Jason Stahl has 15 years of experience as an editor, the last three serving as editor of BodyShop Business. He currently serves as an advisor to the Paint, Body and Equipment Specialists Committee of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association and is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference.rnr

The latest issue of Rolling
Stone
hit my mailbox the other day. I don’t know how I got roped into a
subscription; one minute, I’m searching their archive for an article
written in the 1970s by Hunter S. Thompson. The next thing I know, I’ve
bought a three-month trial subscription, which renews for 12 months
automatically, of course, if I forget to cancel.

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On the cover, I
see there’s an article about the pollution China is creating as it
flexes its industrial muscles. When I go to the feature, I see a photo
of Chinese citizens wearing masks bicycling through a thick haze of coal
smoke. Holy cow! Really? Is it that bad? I had no clue. How could those
people stand for that?

It was fitting, however, to read the
article just before jetting off to Washington, D.C., for an AkzoNobel
press conference on sustainability
.
AkzoNobel has been big on sustainability for a long time, but it has
always been a somewhat mysterious concept to me and, I’m sure, others.

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But
the press conference cleared things up for me. Simply put,
sustainability is where people, the planet and profit overlap.
Basically, corporations today are extracting much more from the
environment than they’re putting back in, and this, in the long-term, is
unsustainable. At this rate, we’ll eventually run out of resources
and/or change the climate so drastically that human life as we know it
will be in jeopardy.

At the press conference, AkzoNobel talked of
an online sustainability tool scheduled for rollout sometime later this
year or early next year. The tool will allow body shop owners to see
where they rank among their colleagues as far as sustainability goes.

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As
AkzoNobel North America Communications Manager Bill Orr said, this is
the “blue ocean” view and the triple bottom line benefiting people, the
plant and profit.

How sustainable are you? Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself. After all, we’re all in this thing together.

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