Sustainability: Not Such a Dirty Word
One way or another, sustainability becomes part of most conversations I have with facility professionals.
So when I posed what I thought was a rather harmless question to a manager recently, I didn't expect the reply that came from the other end of the phone line.
"Has your department implemented sustainability measures to improve the organization's environmental responsibility?" I asked, expecting the manager to discuss water conservation or other green initiatives increasingly common in commercial and institutional facilities.
"I absolutely hate that word," the manager shot back, ensuring I never will mention the "S" word — sustainability — to him again.
This manager is not the first to react negatively to discussions of sustainability. Some consider it a fad. Others think it is a marketing ploy companies use to sell products.
What is unique about his reaction, though, is this particular manager does buy into the concepts associated with sustainability. He just does not like the word sustainability because he believes it represents a trend, rather than describing smart business practices managers should have incorporated into their operations years ago.
I understand his point, and, in an ideal world, sustainable practices would have been top of mind for managers long before newspapers, magazines, and websites began reporting on their growing prevalence in commercial and institutional facilities. But he can be encouraged more facilities are making sustainability a higher priority — not because it is the latest, greatest trend but because managers recognize it makes good business sense.
When managers research and execute sustainable practices properly, they create more efficient, cost-effective operations. In that context, I will not hesitate to mention the "S" word next time I pick up the phone.
Chris Matt offers insights gleaned from conversations with managers who make key maintenance and engineering decisions in commercial and institutional facilities.