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42. Observations on sustainability

L. SMITH (1); (1) Ecolab Food & Beverage, St. Paul, MN, U.S.A.

Sustainability I
Friday, October 9
4:00–5:45 p.m.
River Terrace 2

Most conference attendees won’t need any convincing that sustainable business initiatives are important, because most of you have already seen the light. Take this piece as an encouraging cheer that you’re on the right path, and that there’s hope for the ones who criticize you for being responsible. I’ve worked in the food and beverage industry long enough to witness an amazing renaissance both personally and professionally, with regard to how things are done. When I started working here, I was a card-carrying member of the “I’m not a tree hugger” clan of non-environmentalists. When the tides began to turn, and the winds shifted toward developing environmentally responsible ways to keep industrial sites pest-free, clean, and sanitary, I was one of the people in the back of the room complaining that the government was taking away all of the chemicals that worked. Change was difficult for me, and even though I had many friends who were successfully drafting their own sustainability stories, I lagged behind. I didn’t believe it, and I wouldn’t change my mind without compelling evidence. When I finally accepted the importance of adopting best practices with an eye on the future, it became obvious that making that difference meant a commitment to economic, environmental, safety, and social principles and making a difference by moving the needle in the right direction. The goals of environmental stewardship are to preserve natural systems, and, when possible, to improve soil, water, and air quality. We must all participate in these efforts and promote stewardship of natural resources and protect the environment.

Lee Smith works for Ecolab Food and Beverage as an account manager and has nearly two decades of experience in their industrial and service businesses. In his spare time he’s also the director of a food pantry program that is a USDA Partner Agency, distributing commodity foods to those in need. Lee is always looking for creative ways to make things safer, more sustainable, better, faster, and cleaner. Look him up on LinkedIn and Connect!

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