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Many people focus on the attributes that define sustainability — mitigating climate change, reducing pollution, conserving natural resources and planet health. While these are all strong enough reasons to make sustainability a top priority by everyone everywhere, there are others to consider.

Research has shown that customers care about social and environmental responsibility. The trend to select low impact, “green” goods and services is growing. Businesses that have sustainability best practices as part of their business model have a competitive advantage. Even locally, companies can grow their customer base and create consumer loyalty by showing that San Antonio’s sustainability is a top priority.

Competition for consumer dollars is not the only competition in San Antonio’s business community. Especially during the pandemic, companies are finding it difficult to fill positions across all industries. In many instances, today’s top talent may make career choices based on a company’s commitment to climate initiatives and the community. These commitments could elevate one career opportunity over another, allowing businesses to hire and retain the better employees.

San Antonio has a program that helps the local business community implement or improve sustainability best practices in the workplace: ReWorksSA. ReWorksSA is the result of a collaboration between the City of San Antonio’s Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) and the Office of Sustainability (OS). ReWorksSA provides consultations, both in-person and virtually, at no cost to assist companies and organizations in the areas of recycling, waste reduction, water conservation, energy conservation and transportation efficiencies as well as purchasing and resource reduction policies. The program is available to companies across all industries and of all sizes as well as churches, schools, community organizations and nonprofit organizations. ReWorksSA is one of San Antonio’s climate initiatives.

Businesses that engage ReWorksSA and successfully complete the process are certified as Gold, Silver, Bronze or the highest accolade, the Pinnacle Award for excellence in sustainability. Certification comes with recognition by city leadership and advertising and marketing campaigns that promote certified businesses to the residents of San Antonio. Consumers can find and select these enterprises on an interactive directory found at www.reworkssa.org.

Consider this interesting case study and proof point. Recently, San Antonio’s Convention Sales Department contacted the SWMD and OS to learn more about the city’s sustainability programs. The department was preparing a bid packet for a tremendously important annual convention. Meeting Planners International (MPI) would be bringing thousands of convention, event and meeting planners to a host city in 2024. Those planners would then bring their own programs to host cities. MPI’s request-for-proposal document had an entire section devoted to a city’s sustainability programs and practices. The program design of ReWorksSA “checked every box” on the MPI questionnaire. If local hotels became certified by ReWorksSA for their sustainability best practices, San Antonio would have a real competitive edge over other host city candidates. ReWorksSA has the potential to bring convention dollars into San Antonio’s economy.

Interested organizations can find complete information at www.reworkssa.org.

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ReWorksSA, a division of San Antonio's Solid Waste Management Department, provides consultations about sustainability best practices in the workplace to the local business community at no cost.