President’s Message – April 2011

G($)reening the Bottom Line

Although our economy continues to make a slow recovery, many businesses are still operating on tight budgets due to uncertain growth prospects.  Despite this tough financial environment, Safety Health & Environment (SHE) professionals must obtain a seat at the corporate table and make their case to secure adequate resources for addressing regulatory compliance obligations and pursuing continuous improvement opportunities. More than ever, our ability to speak the “language of business” and demonstrate value-added contributions to the bottom line will determine our success.

One approach that health and safety professionals use to justify budget requests is to show how the elimination of an injury risk resulting from a project investment can improve financial performance. For example, a company with a profit margin of 5% must realize $1,000,000 in additional sales revenue to offset the impact of an injury resulting in $50,000 in workman’s compensation costs.

Fueled by increasing public expectations, the growth in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental sustainability initiatives provides many opportunities to help us green our business bottom lines. Although multiple definitions exist for both, CSR can be defined as addressing the “triple bottom line” of people (society), earth (environment) and business profit (economy).   Sustainability can be defined as meeting our present day needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

SHE professionals can help their businesses meet CSR and sustainability objectives. Think up and down the supply chain by applying “cradle to cradle” chemical management techniques. Use life cycle analysis to evaluate options for reducing the costs of extracting, transporting and processing raw materials, and using finished goods. Specify lighter packaging materials and arrange for intermodal transport of products to reduce transportation fuel requirements and associated emissions. Apply green chemistry principles in raw material selection. Incorporate LEED design principles in building projects to promote energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.

Blue is my favorite color, but my thoughts turn to green when it comes to my job.  And, when summer turns to fall, Green and Gold will do just fine!


Mark P. Steinberg, CEA, REM, CHMM, QEP    262-260-6827