Published March 18 2014 in Hacienda Network

By Zoe Francis

Pleasanton is harnessing the proven success of teamwork by encouraging companies to go green and improve the world while improving their profits.

The city is offering a Sustainability Circle, as it is called, to bring together 10 companies for six months of intense training to learn how to improve resource efficiency and add value to their businesses.

“It’s really an opportunity for businesses to network and learn how to save money and become sustainable,” Daniel Smith, operations services director for the City of Pleasanton, said. “Most people look at sustainability and think they’ll save a few dollars on electricity. This training opens a whole new world. It really is a fantastic way to add to your bottom line.”

The City of Pleasanton has taken part in several sustainability circles offered by True Market Solutions. The San Francisco-based company organizes circles throughout the Bay Area, but the upcoming circle is the first targeted solely for Pleasanton companies.

“It’s a comprehensive analysis of how you become more sustainable,” Smith said. “It’s much more than just energy use. It includes energy, water conservation, green purchasing, packaging. It’s much more than people realize. There are so many things that allow you to be more sustainable that go right to your bottom line. The best way to learn that is with other businesses because they all bring a different perspective to the table.”

Companies or organizations that sign up for a circle typically designate a couple of key employees to take part in the training, which takes place one full day each month for six months. They get additional support between training sessions from True Market staff.

“We help companies achieve tangible results, which means looking at their business and their operations,” Rory Bakke, True Market Solutions’ chief sustainability officer, said. “They actually save money and create better relationships with all of their customers, suppliers and other stakeholders by going through this six-month training.”

The peer-learning format makes True Market Solutions’ Sustainability Circles highly affordable. The investment for companies that join the Pleasanton circle is a fraction of the cost of sustainability consulting firms.

“We have numerous case studies of customers who are well on their way toward significant results in environmental performance and seeing the potential to strengthen their bottom line and their brand,” Bakke said.

Companies that take part complete a sustainability action plan that identifies specific opportunities and actions to save in terms of energy, waste, water reduction and reducing carbon emissions.

“Companies don’t want to fall behind their competition in an arena that requires innovation,” Bakke explained. “In addition, globally, everyone is demanding more transparency. They want to know what companies are doing in terms of environmental and social responsibility. Sustainability is more than doing the right thing. This is required for survival and thriving in the marketplace now.”

Learn more about True Market Solution’s sustainability circles at revsustainability.com.

Visit revsustainability.com/NorCalSF/ to sign up for the Pleasanton sustainability circle. The deadline to register is April 18, 2014.

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