By: Craig Hughes
CEO and Founder, Total Transit
I was originally going to entitle this post “Sustainability as a Business Strategy”. The last time I posted I talked about the ROI of sustainable practices and this time I wanted to expand that further and describe how sustainability can have more than an ROI, it can actually give you control over a part of your business that you currently have no control over. We all know that our profit comes from sales minus expenses. The marketplace determines how much you can price your goods at and the suppliers determine how much you have to pay for your cost of goods. We lease taxis through our Discount Cab division. Our drivers pay us a lease and they pay for fuel and the remainder is what they net. We used to only have control of our internal cost of goods, but when we transitioned to the Prius (we have purchased more than 500), we suddenly could reduce a cost item to our drivers that we couldn’t previously couldn’t. We cut our drivers fuel expense of $60 per day by more than 2/3rds. We split these savings with the drivers allowing both parties to make more money without raising prices to our customers. So this is the story I was going to elaborate on, but the more I thought about it, I could see where the use of sustainable practices applies across many areas of our lives.
An area that immediately comes to mind is nutrition. My daughter Danielle is a nutrition consultant so I get to hear quite a bit about eating the right foods during the right times of the year for the part of the world you live in and how this is better for you and the planet. Here all some of her thoughts on the subject:
“Produce starts to lose its nutrition when it is harvested, so I love going to local farmer’s markets to buy food right from the farmer, knowing that it was picked that morning, or the day before. Not only does it taste better and have more nutrients than non-local choices, but I also like to support the local economy, and I feel better about eating something that has been grown within 100 miles of my home rather than eating something that has been shipped in from Brazil or China, or even another state. Also, farmer’s markets only sell what is in season, and eating with the seasons allows for better health since nature knows what to provide for us as the year goes on (For example, citrus is in season here in the winter time as the weather gets colder, and all of the vitamins and nutritional benefits that fresh citrus provide will naturally build our immune system to block colds and sicknesses that come with the season). If you do not have time to go to a farmer’s market, most grocery stores have a local section or local produce available. You can also grow your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables at home, gaining the satisfaction of eating something that you cared for throughout a season, and homegrown food tastes amazing. Conventional produce tends to lack in flavor due to mass-production, pesticides, and depletion of nutrients in the soil, so as a culture, we have steered away from fruits and vegetables. However, I encourage you to try something new at a farmer’s market or grow it yourself, and you might be surprised at the great taste, and a sudden boost in your immune system and energy to boot!”
So, like our Prius model, there is a little more investment in time and money up front; however, this investment will pay you back over the long run in more energy, better health and an alignment with the earth and its seasons that is often missing from our modern artificial lifestyle. So often I see sustainable practices simply require us to live more like we lived on this earth for centuries before we were able to fly in fresh fruit from halfway around the world just because we can. Simplifying our daily lives can pay us huge dividends.