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Campbell Institute: Safety is underrepresented in workplace sustainability efforts

Eight world class organizations share best practices for robust sustainability programs

Sustainability programs have existed for decades, but their main emphasis has focused on environmental metrics. While these “green” efforts are certainly a part of sustainability, there is a growing trend that a more equal distribution around environmental, social and economic factors – including occupational safety and health – should be recognized. The Campbell Institute – the National Safety Council centre of excellence for environmental, health and safety management – has released a new white paper entitled Profiles in Sustainability: Business, Community, and Environment to demonstrate the connection between worker safety and health and true sustainability.

“It has become increasingly clear that sustainability must go beyond ‘green’ efforts,” said John Dony, director of the Campbell Institute and director of environmental, health, safety and sustainability at the National Safety Council in Itasca, Ill.  “Campbell Institute members know there is a strong link between occupational safety and health and sustainability that organizations need to recognize. Businesses are only as sustainable as their people. ”

The white paper, which contains real world experiences of eight institute members, outlines their best practices for developing and managing sustainability efforts. It explains how sustainability implies a corporate responsibility not only to the planet, but also to the organization's people by protecting worker health and safety, and to profitability by ensuring a viable business for many years to come. Five common areas were identified among the research participants, including:

•defining sustainability according to a “triple bottom line” approach

•using recognized standards to report on sustainability

•expressing a need for more and better metrics for return on sustainability efforts

•finding better leading metrics for sustainability and more ways to correlate environmental sustainability with safety

•developing aspirational yet attainable sustainability goals.

Organizations contributing to the research include AES, Cummins, FCA, ISN, Mosaic, Owens Corning, United Rentals and USG.

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