"The Voice of Reason on Environmental Issues"
 
Frequently Ask Questions (FAQ)
 
 
1
What is the BEC?
2
Is the BEC associated with the SBBEC?
3
Isn't the BEC just "Greenwashing?"
4
Aren't you just trying to stop businesses from being responsible for destroying the environment?
5
What is the "Triple Bottom Line"?
6
What does Zero Waste mean and how can waste be zero?
7
What is the difference between national and chapter members?
8
What does Chapter Membership get my business?
9
What if there is no Chapter in my area?
10
What does National Membership get my business?
11
How do I join the Business Environmental Coalition (BEC)?
12
Why should I focus on environmental issues when I'm already working hard just to keep my business in the black?
13
What kind of time commitment is involved?
14
How often will I be able to network with other business owners?
15
How will my business materially realize economic and time returns for my investment?
 

Q: What is the BEC?
 
A:

In 1989, community leaders were faced with the challenge of implementing California legislation AB-939.

Confronted with a need to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills, these Municipalities put the onus on businesses to limit production and productivity at 1990 levels so they would not produce additional waste.

In the Los Angeles South Bay, a group of businesses came together to voice concerns over how these limitations would affect their businesses. Limiting production meant limiting growth, a disaster for the business and the community. They were able to convince these community leaders to let the businesses find a way to reduce their own waste. In the end, the businesses were successful and were able to divert waste beyond the 50% requirements of AB-939.

26 years later, we are aware that businesses in other communities are confronted with new regulations being implemented at the State, Local and Federal level. Just like the South Bay businesses of 1989 and 1990, these businesses find themselves overwhelmed with environmental regulations which often interfere with business operations, growth and through unintended consequences often cause more environmental waste, not less.

The BEC (Business Environmental Coalition) is a National membership organization. We support large and small businesses in learning how to be more sustainable, limiting business waste and at the same time, work with law makers and regulators to ensure regulations do not negatively affect member businesses with their unintended consequences.

 

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Q: Is the BEC associated with the SBBEC?
 
A:

In a word, No!

While both organizations were founded by Jaime A. Lozano (and others), the SBBEC (South Bay Business Environmental Coalition) is now focused on public education and recognition of businesses for environmental achievement through the SEED Awards (a way to recognize business environmental achievement originally developed by Jaime A. Lozano). Additionally, the SBBEC operates as a Public Benefit nonprofit.

The BEC (Business Environmental Coalition), which operates as a Mutual Benefit (Membership) organization, is focused on helping member businesses become more sustainable and effecting change in environmental regulations as they are applied to business.

While the BEC commends the SBBEC on their mission, we are not affiliated.

 

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Q: Isn't the BEC just "Greenwashing?"
 
A:

Let's address what "Greenwashing" actually is... a PR approach to looking like what you're doing is environmentally friendly though it's not... For example, a Dry Cleaner who claims to use environmentally friendly processes while still using toxic chemicals.

As educators, the BEC is primarily focuses on helping businesses with little understanding of "Sustainability" learn to be more sustainable. The training begins with their first steps to certification, continues through their last steps in becoming Zero Waste and even goes on to help become examples to other businesses who are just starting. In all phases, we support these businesses through the process... It's about Education, not Condemnation!

  • Are all of our members 100% Zero Waste eco-friendly from the day they join? No!
  • Are all of our members working toward being better? Yes - or they aren't allowed to be members anymore!
  • Could some of our members be greenwashing and lying? Maybe and when we find out, they will be sanctioned!

Put it this way, is it possible the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is greenwashing when they say the environmental impact of the King Mine disaster they caused is no big deal? Maybe!

 

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Q: Aren't you just trying to stop businesses from being responsible for destroying the environment?
 
A:

Entrepreneurs, Business Owners and Executives are as interested (if not more so interested) in protecting natural resources as anyone else. "Businesses" are run by real people with kids and grandkids. The majority would like to leave behind a better world for those who follow and these are the people we want as members of the BEC.

Businesses know how to address environmental issues within their business.This was proven over and over by the BEC dating back as far as 1989 with companies like Xerox, TRW, The Gas Company and Northrop in 1989. Businesses don't need regulation to tell us how to do it, we need to understand what needs to be done and given space to find solutions.

In 1897, the leaders of the biggest cities in the world could not find a solution to the largest environmental threat of the era... Horse manure! New York City alone experienced 20,000 deaths each year from manure dust and the streets were at least 20 feet deep with the stuff.

A few years later, Ransom Olds and Henry Ford cars affordable enough, they replaced horses and the problem was solved... Today, we look the Automobile as wasteful and antiquated. Much the same way they looked at horses 100 years ago...

Yes, it's time for a change but historically, that change has always comes from creative Entrepreneurs, not from Government regulations. The Business Environmental Coalition Lobbys for the right to let businesses do what they do best, solve problems and effect real change that will take us through the next 100 years!

 

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Q: What is the "Triple Bottom Line"?
 
A:

Technically, the "Triple Bottom Line" is a method of accounting that takes in to account more than just dollars added to the bottom line.

Also Known As the "Three Ps" (3Ps) can be represented as:

  • People
  • Profit
  • Planet

Simply put, we all know "Profits" are important. Without profit, there is no money for a business to grow and as Plato pointed out, if a business doesn't grow, it decays out of existence.

It's a common fallacy that "People" are not important to a business. In truth, a business doesn't exist to provide employment, rather a business exists to provide a service or product, where employment is a byproduct of that process. However, the cost of training, the cost of quality issues that can be caused by unhappy employees and the cost of employees just not caring enough to let a business know when things could be better is difficult to measure although some have estimated the cost is around $300 Million in the United States. Taking care of your people helps to make a healthy business and a healthy economy.

While it may seem to have little to do with business, "Planet" is about long term growth and profits in a business. Does your product or process use up natural resources? Does it hurt your market? Is it possible your product or service will alienate your customer base? Ask yourself, "If I keep doing business this way for 200 years, will the world be better or worse off?"

We can't just look at immediate profits in business anymore. We need to look at the overall effect our businesses are having on the world around us and this is the Triple Bottom Line!

 

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Q: What does Zero Waste mean and how can waste be zero?
 
A:

There's a saying in the environmental community, "Zero Waste doesn't mean Zero, it means 'Zero or damn close to it!'"

It has also been said, "If you're not for Zero Waste, how much waste do you want?"

The idea behind zero waste in business is finding what is actally waste, and what can be Reduced, Reused or Recycled.

In simple business terms, every piece of waste in your trash is money that did NOT make it to your bottom line.

For example, the American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD) used to go through $22,000 worth of paper a year with an additional $4,000 spent on shipping. By making certain processes web based, they eliminated that $26,000 of waste which they can now use to provide other services for their members.

The quest for "Zero Waste" is simply an approach to finding the point where your business is operating at maximum Efficiency and Effectievness thus running at the highest profitability (zero waste).

 

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Q: What is the difference between national and chapter members?
 
A:

BEC Chapters are regionally based - Most small businesses are focused on doing business in their communities and the chapters are not only designed to help your business become more environmentally friendly but to network with like minded business professionals.

Chapter meetings provide training and educational opportunities to see how to make incremental changes to your business that not only help the environment but most of the time help your business be more profitable.

It's a fact that meetings like this are the best place to meet with others who might benefit from doing business with you and it's more than just icing on the cake that you will know you're doing business with people who are also doing their part to protect the environment.

National Members - On the other hand are larger corporations who do business across state lines or even at the International level. Their needs and the environmental demands placed on these businesses are much more complicated than with small (regional) businesses.

National members have direct oversight to help their business stand out for their environmental achievements. At the national level, we provide resources to businesses listed or otherwise that can help them stand out as environmental leaders.

Additionally, National members are allowed to attend any chapter event as well as National events.

All members are invited to the Annual BEC Summit.

 

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Q: What does Chapter Membership get my business?
 
A:

Regional chapters focus on local regions (City, County, etc.) and are designed to support businesses within these defined regions.

When joining the BEC, you first go through a brief video training and business evaluation program. This process is designed so you can do it yourself. Upon completion of the training and evaluation, your business will receive the "Green Certified" Seal, where this seal is important to your status as a member of the BEC.

Additionally, as a member of the BEC, you can put the BEC Seal on your web site, an indication that you are a member in good standing!

With your paid membership, your business is listed on the BEC web site, an opportunity to share what your business does with other members and anyone browsing or reviewing the BEC site.

At Chapter meetings you have the opportunity to learn how to be more environmentally sustainable in your business and to meet with other business members in your area who are also working on being sustainable.

While the BEC is focused on helping your business be more profitable through your sustainable efforts, we are also watching out for our members.

We work with local and state authorities to help ease regulations on our member businesses.

Should you find yourself under environmental investigation, and if you are in good standing, the BEC will send our team to help you address the charges and when possible we will help you fight back against the charges and help negotiate a solution on your behalf.

 

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Q: What if there is no Chapter in my area?
 
A:

If you are a small business and want to join at the chapter level but there is no chapter in your area, you can still join through the "At Large" chapter. As an At Large member, you may attend any meetings of any chapter in the country. You will receive all of the same certifications and recognition. You have full access to the National level resources that apply to your type of business and you are listed on the BEC National site.

Once we have 20 businesses interested in starting a chapter in your region, the BEC will come to the area to assist in launching a chapter in your area. Local area At Large members will take point in acting as the Chair of the chapter and Board of Directors. A minimum of 5 directors is required for a Chapter Board of Directors. Once launched, the BEC national will provide resources to help manage the chapter but the Chapter Board of Directors will be able to coordinate events as will most beneift the Chapter in their area.

Go here to register as an "At Large" member and click the option to start a chapter in your region.

 

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Q: What does National Membership get my business?
 
A:

If you are a mid size to large business. If you are listed on any stock exchange, it's not likely your needs will be met by local meetings about how to optimize a small business.

As a National member, your business is evaluated by members of our staff. We help you put into place a comprehensive program for environmental reform. If you happen to be a Zero Waste company or are already making terrific strides in your environmental efforts, we evaluate and report these accomplishments publicly on our web site.

Think of it as third party confirmation of your efforts to make a difference and if you're not quite there, the BEC will help you develop a step by step program to get you there.

As a National Member, we also stand with you with regard to probes and sanctions by environmental agencies. Often by demonstrating the changes you are making, we've been able to hold back fines and sanctions. Can we do this for your business? Not unless you're a member.

The BEC is also busy monitoring regulations and legislation at the Federal level and in the States we are active in. We keep you apprised of what is going on and how it may affect your business.

 

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Q: How do I join the Business Environmental Coalition (BEC)?
 
A:

If you are a small business and want to join at the chapter level, follow this link to our registration page, select your business category and the region you want to join.

If there are no chapters in your region, select "At Large." As an At Large chapter member, you can attend any chapter in the country. Also, once we have 20 members in any region, and a chapter Board of Directors ready to proceed, the BEC will assist the group in opening a chapter in the local area.

To Join at the National Level, use our Contact Form to connect with us and discuss how we can best assist your organization and to determine special pricing for your membership needs.

 

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Q: Why should I focus on environmental issues when I'm already working hard just to keep my business in the black?
 
A:

We know you are working hard on your business. The majority of the Board of Directors for the BEC are Small Business Owners and know what it's like but...

  • Most of the time Sustainability changes you make to your business directly improve your profitability
  • Right now, environmental legislation is causing more issues for small businesses than it is helping. We help you have a voice with this issue
  • Being seen as being green will usually get you business
  • If you contract for larger companies, several large companies are focused on Zero Waste. They can and will only work with Sustainable companies. Through BEC membership, your efforts show
  • It's an opportunity to network with others who might find value in doing business with you
  • You just might learn something to help your business that you didn't know

 

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Q: What kind of time commitment is involved?
 
A:

As a Chapter member, you are expected to watch a 30 minute video and do a self-evaluation which can take between 30 minutes and 2 hours depending mostly on you. You also have the option to pay our staff to do the evaluation for you (but you'll still be expected to watch the video training).

Networking meetings consist of about 30 minutes of suggestions to improve your business in a sustainable way, and of course networking with friends and other businesses takes time while providing other business opportunities. You would be expected to attend at least 3 of these meetings annually.

There is an annual Conference (BEC Summit) which you are welcome to attend however not mandatory.

As a National member, we will help your company define an agenda for integration of sustainable practices. While we define this agenda together, our staff will be instrumental in helping you maintain this schedule.

 

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Q: How often will I be able to network with other business owners?
 
A:

Every chapter should endeavor to hold a monthly training and networking event. There are other networking opportunities and weekend seminars you may attend in addition to opportunities available through BEC partners that you will have priority acceptance to. All of these provide opportunities to meet with and network with other member businesses.

 

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Q: How will my business materially realize economic and time returns for my investment?
 
A:

As our founder Jaime A. Lozano is fond of saying, "Waste in the trash can is waste on your bottom line!"

The BEC helps you learn how to integrate sustainable practices into your business. We focus first on the practices that have the best opportunity to help your business not only ecologically but economically.

Often the best results come from personal understanding of your business. Our chapter leaders and our BEC staff are here to help you find the right solutions for your business.

Additionally, THE FINES ARE COMING. Here in California with laws like AB-1826 and SB-350 (and others), it is likely your business will be in violation of law by the year 2020 and there are often fines associated with these rules.

The BEC helps you meet the requirements of these laws, when possible helps you make it more profitable and when there is a conflict, if you follow our guidelines, we will send our team with you to support you against any environmental charges.

 

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