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 Consultant.” The obvious follow up questions are “What is a sustainability consultant?” 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 World Economic Forum report came to a similar conclusion. At our current rate of polluting, there will be more plastic in our oceans, by weight, than fish by 2050.
And human activity is 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. Satellite data from the Bahamas, after it was hit by Hurricane Dorian, shows widespread destruction, up to 100% of structures in many areas. ”Hurricane Dorian pushed a 20-plus-foot wall of water onto the island, in the form of storm surge.” Many of the food products we love are threatened including wine, chocolate, beer, even french fries and peanut butter due to droughts and unpredictable or unstable weather. Are our financial institutions doing enough to support the transition to the clean energy economy? A 2019 Rainforest Action Network report on banks reveals that “major world banks have increased their financing of fossil fuels, pouring $1.9 trillion into the industry from 2016 through 2018.” And, no surprise, “US banks are the worst offenders.”
I asked myself, why would businesses change? Is change only possible through laws and regulations? Fortunately for me, I chose to study these 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 or doing good to be good.
For example, while switching to LEDs can help a company drastically curtail its energy use; REV pushes further and asks how your organization can do more than address energy efficiency and actually 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 Consultant 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.
Jenny Sant’Anna is a Wisconsin native happily transplanted to Silicon Valley. She has been at REV since March of 2015. 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.