April 22 was the 48th year of us celebrating Earth Day. We reflect on how much has changed, and ask, “Is it enough?” In 1970 the awareness of environmental damage was increasing due to a number of disasters and a great deal of evidence coming to light. One book with a strong impact was Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which revealed the effects of DDT and other pesticides on wildlife.
Laws had not protected the people and environment from industrial pollution, and it was rampant and dangerous. It was a turning point for the environment when President Nixon signed a law (NEPA) to require the federal government to use “all practicable means to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony.” That same year (1970) Earth Day was founded. Since then we have seen massive change, with increasing awareness that more is needed.
One of the changes that have come about over the years is the birth of a ‘socially responsible corporation’ – B Corporation (B-Corp). For a B Corp, every day is Earth Day. The B Corp voluntarily holds itself to a standard that benefits the environment and the community in which it operates. AMS Fulfillment (AMS) is understandably proud of its certification as a B Corp, and of its commitment to keep pace with the most environmentally conscious businesses in the US.
The theme of Earth Day this year is ‘End Plastic Pollution’. According to the Earth Day Organization, “Earth Day 2018 is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behavior about plastics.” The commitment this year is to reduce the use of plastics. That is a commitment we can all support as individuals and as businesses.
Since AMS began as an environmentally conscious business by recycling bottles, cans, corrugate materials and plastics, the awareness among employees of the company’s environmental footprint is high. Several years ago AMS employees created a volunteer GREEN TEAM that monitors the business practices and recommends additional ways that AMS can be an industry example of a green company.
This year, when various departments were asked if they could see more ways to reduce the use of plastics, replies came back that even though recycling is always done, more efforts are always made to reduce the use of plastics. Mark Fese, AMS Facilities Manager, reported that the company is trying out methods of plastics reduction, in particular the stretch-wrap they use for a dock to location application. In-office recycle bins are also being looked at as possible ways for further reduction.
AMS President Jay Catlin noted that the company has been focused on reducing the use of paper by updating and improving routine business practices where printing is involved. “We’ve always recycled paper, but now with our efforts to reduce the use of paper, the recycle bins are taking much longer to fill up which is great news! In looking at plastics, AMS continues to recycle discarded stretch-wrap and plastic strapping along with plastic bottles, and we’re now exploring how best to make an impact on the usage.” Mr. Catlin went on to mention that they encourage clients to avoid strapping inbound cartons as much as possible, and the focus now is on limiting the use of stretch-wrap without sacrificing warehouse safety for the proper handling of pallets.
AMS Fulfillment does its best to uphold the commitment to community and to humanity as expressed in this excerpt from the B Corporation Declaration of Interdependence. We look forward to the time when we no longer need an Earth Day to remind us that all of life is interdependent and no one profits when the Earth is harmed with pollution.
“We envision a new sector of the economy which harnesses the power of private enterprise to create public benefit. This sector is comprised of a new type of corporation – the B Corporation™ – which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.”