Community
How can we build our homes and communities so that they co-exist harmoniously with Nature? What does it mean to create a sustainable house, a sustainable community, a sustainable city? For each additional day that we live, design and build unsustainably, we pull another fibre out of the fabric of Earth’s ecosystems.
 

The Bamberton Business Code (Draft No 2)

Introduction

In a world that seeks to find a better balance between human activity, the environment, and the planet as a whole, the plans for Bamberton have been created to demonstrate a new pattern of development which will be sensitive to community, economy, culture and the environment.

Throughout the world, businesses are beginning to look seriously at the impact they have on the environment, and at different initiatives they can take to become ecologically sustainable, while remaining competitive.

The International Chamber of Commerce has published a 16-point 'Business Charter for Sustainable Development' to assist enterprises in their commitment to environmental stewardship. Books like '50 Simple Things Your Business Can do to Save the Earth' and 'The Green Business Guide' give guidance, examples and advice for companies which are pursuing the goal of environmental excellence. BC Hydro has published an 8-step guide to the environmentally sound office. BC Tel has established an Environmental program. These are typical of leading corporations all over the world. Environmental responsibility has arrived in the business world, and is here to stay.

Bamberton will be a town where the goals of community wellbeing, economic stability, ecological sustainability and planetary health are important commitments. In the Bamberton economy, this means that we must take 'good ecological housekeeping' seriously. If this were to mean unreasonable cost and inconvenience to business, we would be worried - but the evidence shows that the pursuit of environmental excellence supports the goal of overall business success. In fact, businesses which ignore the environmental bottom line will find the 1990s increasingly tough going.

With this in mind, we have drafted this Code to serve as a statement of intentions for business at Bamberton. The Code is a voluntary statement, and does not carry any legal implications. We intend that the Code be backed by a process of community environmental support. We want to encourage the highest standard of environmental conduct at Bamberton, through learning, and by example.

The Business Code was drafted in the Spring of 1992, and reviewed by a group of 12 people, most of whom are either in business, or have a business background. Our thanks and appreciation to these friends and helpers.

In signing the Business Code, you agree to endeavour to uphold the goals expressed within it.

Roger Colwill, Guy Dauncey, Randy Hooper and friends

2nd Draft, August 1993

The Bamberton Business Code

As a business owner, manager or operator bringing my experience and expertise to Bamberton, I will endeavour to stand by the following intentions in the operation of my business :

1. To sign, and invite all my employees and co-workers to sign, the Bamberton Code, and to support it as a fundamental component of living and working at Bamberton.

This encourages support for the fundamental values that underpin Bamberton.

2. To be concerned with the overall wellbeing of my employees and co-workers, to encourage their personal growth, fulfilment and achievement, and to treat all others in the way in which I would like to be treated myself.

This encourages a high level of personal and team aspiration, and a fundamental standard of ethical conduct.

3. To participate in the local economy wherever possible, by offering jobs to residents of Bamberton and the surrounding communities, by trading with local businesses, and by being actively involved in the support and promotion of local community economic and environmental initiatives, to the benefit of all.

This encourages mutual community support, in the knowledge that by caring for each other, we all stand to gain.

4. To recognize environmental management as a business priority, and to establish policies, programmes and practices which will ensure that my business is conducted in an environmentally responsible manner.

This recognizes the need to give environmental care proper attention in every aspect of a business's practice.

5. To travel to work by foot, bike, bus or car-pool whenever practical, and to encourage my staff to do likewise, in order to protect the peace and safety of Bamberton's neighbourhoods, and to minimize the emission of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from automobiles.

This will help Bamberton to become a pedestrian priority community, while cutting back on the gas that is the No 1 contributor to global warming.

6. To practise care and concern in the protection of Bamberton's many plants, birds, mammals and other species, both in the vicinity of my business operation and elsewhere.

This encourages the overall protection of biodiversity at Bamberton.

7. To adopt the highest practical standards in the use of energy, water and raw materials, taking the full life-cycle of a product or service into account.

This encourages the responsible use of limited resources.

8. To utilize locally available raw materials, services and supplies wherever practical, given the nature of my business, and to encourage the reuse of materials in such a way that our limited primary resources are used in the most sustainable fashion possible.

This reminds us that there are limits to Earth's natural resources, and we should not squander them carelessly. This includes the use of resources to transport goods from distant countries.

9. To manufacture, design, develop or assemble products and to utilize and operate services in such a way that there is no release of noxious chemicals, ozone-depleting compounds or volatile substances into the air, ground, water or municipal sewer.

This encourages businesses to aim for a 'zero pollution' goal.

10. To contribute as little as possible to the non-organic waste stream; to manufacture and distribute products with the minimal necessary packaging; and to utilize packaging components that are readily, if not universally, re-useable or recyclable at all their market destinations.

This encourages us to reduce the never-ending flow of packaging and garbage that uses up scarce resources and plagues our lives.

11. To accept back from the consumer any product or unused part of a product sold by my business which carries an environmental risk, and to store, re-use or recycle these products through the Bamberton Recycling Centre. (Eg garage accepts used oil, tires and batteries; paint shop accepts unused paints, solvents & thinners; drug store accepts unused drugs).

This encourages businesses to accept 'cradle-to-grave' responsibility for their products.

12. To decline to manufacture or sell products which I believe to be environmentally unsound.

This encourages businesses to turn away from products which exact a heavy environmental toll.

13. To decline to offer for sale products or services which I believe to contain materials known to substantially affect human or ecological health adversely .

This encourages businesses to adopt a responsible attitude with regard to products that are widely considered to have an adverse health or environmental effect.

14. To decline from using any liquids (including cleaning materials) which will have a negative impact on Bamberton's waste-water treatment, and thereby on the local groundwater and the Saanich Inlet; and where I have to use such a product because there is no known alternative, to dispose of it safely through the hazardous waste collection system.

This helps protect the Saanich Inlet, and increase the quality of compost produced by the waste-water treatment plant.

15. To educate, train and encourage my staff to conduct all their activities in an environmentally responsible manner.

This recognizes the crucial importance of training, and the need for environmental care to become an ethic that is accepted throughout the business, not just preached from the top.

16. To do my best to assess the environmental impact of any new project or activity my business undertakes, before commencing it.

This recognizes the need to build environmental protection into the planning stage of a new project, instead of cleaning up the mess afterwards.

17. To promote the adoption of these same principles by all contractors working on my behalf, and by my suppliers.

This encourages a business to foster the same standards of environmentally responsible conduct by its contractors and suppliers.

18. To practise openness and dialogue among my staff and co-workers, and with the public, and to undertake an annual environmental audit of my business.

This encourages businesses to conduct a regular process of environmental review, using guidelines that will be provided by the Bamberton Economy Action Team.

19. To seek assistance from a dispute mediation service before resorting to legal action, in the event that I become entangled in a difficult dispute.

This encourages the resolution of disputes through the 'win-win' approach of discussion and mediation, in the interest of building a harmonious, caring community, rather than the normal 'win-lose' approach of legal action.

20. To make an active contribution to the community, and to work with others to make Bamberton a happy, healthy and caring community.

This encourages businesses to look beyond their own needs, and to use their skills and resources to contribute to the wellbeing of the community as a whole.

Signed..................................................... Date .................................

 

THE GREENING OF BUSINESS

A resource-list for environmentally concerned businesses

50 Simple Things Your Business Can Do To Save The Earth

Easy-to-read, full of ideas every company can put to use. Earthworks Group, Berkeley, Ca. Available from good bookshops, and Ecology House, Market Square, Victoria. $8.95. 120pp. Strongly recommended.

The Business Charter for Sustainable Development

16 principles of environmental management, produced in 1990 by the International Chamber of Commerce. Provides a basic framework for corporations and business organizations throughout the world. Free : ICC, 38 Cours Albert 1er, 75008 Paris, France. Fax (01133) 1-42 25 86 63.

The CERES Principles

The CERES Principles lay down 10 environmental principles. Companies are invited to become signatories, and follow a yearly self-evaluation process. CERES, 711 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02111. Tel (617) 482-6179.

Decision Making Practices for Sustainable Development

23-point Code of Practice checklist, drawn up by the Manitoba Round Table. Helps establish a systematic approach towards sustainability. Free : National Round Table on Environment and Economy, 1 Nicholas St, Suite 520, Ottawa, Ont K1N 7B7. 134pp.

The Green Business Guide : How to Take Up - and Profit From - The Environmental Challenge by John Elkington and Peter Knight. (Victor Gollancz Ltd, London). Written by Britain's top environmental consultancy group. Contains examples, case studies, arguments and information oriented towards larger companies. $35.00 from good bookshops. 247pp.

The Green Business Letter

'The Hands-On Journal for Environmentally Conscious Companies'. 12 times pa, $102 US. Single copy $10, from 1526 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20036, USA.

Competitiveness in the '90s : Environmental Performance

Eleven company case studies from BC, produced by Industry, Science & Technology, Canada, 900-650 West Georgia, Vancouver V6B 4N7, free. Tel (604) 666-0266.

'Greening' the Marketplace A hands-on guide for individuals, consumer and environmental groups, produced by the Environmentally Sound Packaging Coalition. Brings you up-to-date on the latest in green packaging, recycling and waste management. $5.00 from ESP, 2150 Maple St, Vancouver V6J 3T3. Tel (604) 736-3644.

Similar local 'green business' initiatives have been established in King County (Washington State), Anchorage (Alaska), Manitoba, and elsewhere. This is the beginning of a 'wave' that will one day become standard practice for business all over the world.