Editor’s Note: This guest post is part of a series from the Sustainability Sponsors of the 2019 WBENC National Conference & Business Fair. Each year, WBENC makes strides toward hosting events that more closely follow the precepts of sustainability by reducing our paper output and being more efficient in our energy consumption. Companies that share our mission of sustainability frequently invest in our network by becoming Sustainability Sponsors for our events, encouraging recycling and offering re-usable containers for water and coffee to reduce waste.
Today, hear from Joan Kerr, Director of Supply Chain Responsibility at PG&E, on why you should “choose to refuse” and how PG&E is leading the way in sustainability within our network and beyond.
By Joan Kerr, Director, PG&E Supply Chain Responsibility
For the past three years, as the proud sustainability sponsor for the WBENC National Conference & Business Fair, PG&E has encouraged thousands of women business owners, corporations, and colleagues to reduce, reuse, and recycle. While this message is just as important today as it was four years ago, one change that we have seen is to incorporate the practice of REFUSE into the messaging. Recycling isn’t going to move the needle towards improvement as much as refusing will.
Last year, Girl Scout Shelby O’Neil encouraged PG&E to refuse to order straws and stir sticks that could very easily become part of the ocean bound plastic problem. That one request prompted PG&E to make a decision that resulted in the avoidance of more than 50 pounds of plastic per year. You can learn more about this plastic prevention hero and her “No Straw November” initiative at www.jroceanguardians.org.
With every purchasing decision at work or at home, do you ask yourself if you really need it? Are you choosing to refuse? When you do choose to buy, can you select items that are environmentally preferred? It may take some work, but aren’t you, your family, coworkers, and community worth it? The Environmental Protection Agency and many states are trying to make it easy when you aren’t sure where to start.
This year, the Conference sustainability sponsors are providing aluminum water bottles for all attendees. Use the bottle throughout the event and when you return home to stay hydrated. If carrying a reusable water bottle isn’t already part of your wardrobe, challenge yourself to choose to refuse. Save money by avoiding the purchase of plastic single use water bottles. Refuse to buy items that could contribute to waste. When you do choose, look for items that can be reused and recycled.
PG&E has seen WBEs create a strong competitive advantage with sustainability as a key driver. WBEs have helped us reduce environmental impacts and cost by optimizing shipping methods, reducing water consumption, and reducing asphalt paving for example. PG&E has publicly recognized these WBEs for their innovative green solutions.
Let’s take inspiration from Greta Thunberg and other young women challenging governments and corporations to do better. They aren’t taking no for an answer. They are demanding everyone to make better choices today so that the world they lead tomorrow has blue skies and green grass. Join your WBENC National Conference & Business Fair sponsors and choose to be green today for current and future generations.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, incorporated in California in 1905, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, the company is a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
There are approximately 24,000 employees who carry out Pacific Gas and Electric Company's primary business—the transmission and delivery of energy. The company provides natural gas and electric service to approximately 16 million people throughout a 70,000-square-mile service area in northern and central California.