What Happened to the “E” in EH&S, Who Are All These “Sustainability” People and Where Have They Been All These Years?

Some organizations have “safety” wearing the E, the H AND the S hats and have them in leadership roles which position them to exploit this latest trend/rage.  They’ve reimaged their Environmental message as needed – and are using the momentum swing brought on by “sustainability” to a great advantage!  On the other hand, some with environmental protection in their charge have been working for years trying to get management to see the environmental program as a BIG “E”; far more inclusive than just RCRA hazardous waste and EPA compliance.  Come to work one day and find that some other department or God love ‘em, a recent college graduate or LEED AP, is heading up the new sustainability program!

Where was their message missed?  Why weren’t they positioned to have their academic and technical training and requisite managerial and leadership skills brought to bear on this great opportunity?  Aren’t they after all, the Environmental function?

Whether the train has departed the station without you or you are fortunate enough to be the conductor, if you have the needed expertise, you need to be using it carefully.  If you’re not on the train, it makes some sense that you should have been and maybe you can catch them at the next stop.  If you’re on the train, you have to work smart ensuring a good balance in your budgeting.  Having too many of your organization’s limited resources diverted to saving a few tons of CO2 may or may not be in the best interest of the organization overall.

As a motivator and resource spigot, there’s certainly nothing like having the CEO’s interest and backing and for various reasons, many a CEO are all about sustainability!  What a great thing, huh?  Do you ever wonder what it would take to get this same level of enthusiasm up for health and safety?  I guess that’s a topic for another time.

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