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Businesses work together to protect the environment

WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable

Dozens of companies across the region have joined a new business-driven initiative to protect the environment. The Sustainable Business Roundtable was launched this past spring on Earth Day.  More than 40 like-minded companies, from those with a global footprint to those with a few employees, have joined the SBR. Members learn how to develop and act on sustainability goals, promote a healthy community and increase profitability. Deborah Gondek with Rich Products said sustainability can offer a lot of cost savings.

"By looking at ways to be more energy efficient at our facilities that also saves us millions of dollars every year. In addition to reducing green house gas emissions. So good for business and good for  the environment," said Gondek.

Canon Design Associate Vice President Eric Lindstrom said even though members are from different industries, they face the same challenges.     

"One thing that we've tried to do is make this organization unique to Western New York...The fact that...people struggle with just survival. So we want to take this whole idea of sustainability beyond survival and make it more about, kind of, thriving," said Linstrom.

Along with sharing best practices SBR members have access to technical resources at little or no cost. Gondek said, help is also available from government regulators who, not long ago, were not necessarily welcomed by businesses.     

"We were more adversaries, I think, in the past, where now it feels more of a partnership and very collaborative. Because, at the end of the day we all want the same things. In Western New York...we want to protect our waterways, for example," Gondek said.  

To pay for staff and fund services the Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded a $179,000 grant for the SBR.