By Jenny Sant’Anna, REV
At networking events, we’re often invited to introduce ourselves by sharing our names, companies and roles. “Hi, I’m Jenny Sant’Anna. I work at REV and I’m a Sustainability Coach.” The obvious follow up questions are “What is a sustainability coach?” and “What is REV?” I can answer the what, but to be honest, I’d much rather answer the why.
I don’t have a choice. I have to work as a sustainability professional. Ever since I read an article in the 90s about cruise ships tossing their waste overboard, my professional path was set. I knew the oceans were not bottomless; that pollution was going to add up over time. And I felt terrible that we were polluting some of the most incredible places on earth, for the sake of convenience. Just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean this waste isn’t building up. This January, the World Economic Forum released a report concluding that at our current rate of polluting, there will be more plastic in our oceans, by weight, than fish by 2050.
And humans are messing with more than just our oceans. At this point, the effect that we are having on accelerated climate change is irrefutable, and its impacts are devastating. Areas in Haiti are up to 90% destroyed after hurricane Matthew. The production of Chablis in the Burgundy region of France may be down seventy percent this year due to hail and bad weather. And many businesses’ narrow bottom-line focus isn’t just exacerbating environmental problems. Here in the US, unethical practices were revealed at Wells Fargo, a bank with a seemingly rock solid reputation, likely due to constant pressure to grow ever larger.
I asked myself, why would businesses change? Is change only possible through laws and regulations? Fortunately for me, I chose to study the issues at Presidio Graduate School where we explored the concept of sustainability and the benefits offered to organizations that embrace the tools of sustainable management. I learned some businesses are choosing to consider more than the bottom line – they are valuing their people, communities, and the environment as well. And those businesses are flourishing.
Even more fortunate for me, I was introduced to REV after grad school. REV is a proponent of sustainable value and how businesses and organizations can thrive once they embrace the business case for sustainable value for themselves. We think radically about these concepts. It isn’t just about addressing the low hanging fruit.
For example, while switching to LEDs can help a company drastically curtail its energy use; REV pushes further and asks how your organization can embed change and offer solutions to your customers and constituents like when a courthouse significantly engages its staff in completely transitioning from paper to online case filings, or when a property management firm puts in enough solar parking to offset 100 percent of its annual electricity, or when a construction industry firm can share a flyer about their sustainability initiatives at a job fair garnering interest from the millennial job seekers because no one else is sharing a similar story. REV knows sustainability is a journey and that no matter where your organization is today, there is more sustainable value to be captured.
I am a Sustainability Coach at REV because I’m excited to work with businesses and organizations helping them accelerate their sustainability efforts and impact, and yes save money, but also realize the more substantial opportunities that ultimately contribute to business resilience, healthy growth, longer-term gains, and a better future for us all. Our Business Sustainability Workshops provide a great catalyst to building that momentum at your organization. I hope to see you there.
Jenny Sant’Anna is a Wisconsin native happily transplanted to Silicon Valley. She has been coaching for REV since March of 2015 where she also serves as the Vice President of Operations supporting and training other sustainability coaches. Her background includes being the co-founder and VP of Operations for a first generation mobile software company, consulting on urban innovation projects, and working on climate change awareness campaigns. Jenny has a BS in Education & Social Policy from Northwestern and an MPA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. She is litter hater, ocean lover, and earth advocate.