Area business network dedicated to sustainability

Rob Wood owns Spoutwood Farm Center in Codorus Township. The center operates a community-sponsored agriculture program and offers educational programs tied to the environment and social well-being. - (Photo / Bil Bowden)

Rob Wood is concerned about food.

Much of the food grown in York County is not sold to York County residents, said the owner of Spoutwood Farm Center in Codorus Township. Meanwhile, much of the food consumed by York County residents comes from somewhere else.

Among many other things, Spoutwood operates a community-sponsored agriculture program and offers educational programs tied to the environment and social well-being.

“We need to get a lot more sustainable about what we grow,” he said.

However, businesses still have to make a profit.

Along those lines, the Susquehanna Sustainable Business Network was started in March 2007 with the triple bottom line of people, place and profit in mind.

With about 40 members, most of whom do business in Central Pennsylvania, the 501(c)(3) is the only sustainable business network between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, said Stacey Irwin, the network’s board president and an associate professor at Millersville University. Kinds of companies include food producers, architects, contractors, financial planners and others.

“We ask that members be locally rooted, have control of their own business and marketing decisions, have sustainable businesses practices implemented in their organization, and continue to strive to be sustainable in many of the aspects of their business,” Irwin said. “Some businesses are old pros at this, but other members join to learn how to strengthen and increase sustainable and ecofriendly choices within their organizations.”

What is sustainability?

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The sustainability movement has been going on for decades, but in the past dozen years, it has taken hold in corporate boardrooms, said John Seryak, president of Columbus, Ohio-based Go Sustainable Energy, a firm dedicated to helping businesses across the country save money by instituting sustainable practices.

“What sustainability inherently implies is that your business practices now are not sustainable, either not in the short term or long term,” he said. “One can view a resource as environmentally or economically unsustainable. Traditional businesses and larger corporations use it as a tool to evaluate where they’re at risk.”

Joseph Deinlein

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