By: KAREN TRACEY Sustainability Feb 17, 2016 Why Women Need to be Strong Influencers in Business & Environment "If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” When my son Brannon was born in 2002—which seems like forever ago—but what’s more astounding to me is how much I’ve changed since then. As my body and hormones were changing during pregnancy, so too was my perspective on everything. A Shift in Perspective It all started with diapers. In the midst of nesting, I started thinking about the thousands of diapers this kid would need, and where they would ultimately endure for upwards of 5 centuries. I literally couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of all those disposable diapers and that my kid would be contributing to the madness. It was simply not going to happen. Along with an alternative to disposable diapers, I also discovered and implemented many other practices, products, and philosophies that have followed me over the years. To say I’m a tree-hugging-animal-rights-social-equity-localist would be putting it mildly. Embracing Innovation in the Triple Bottom Line This year for TIS is one of embracing innovation. And I am thrilled that one of the areas we’re putting a great deal of that effort is sustainability. I’m fortunate to have a partner who supports my passion for sustainability and bringing that into our business. While we’ve been avid reducers, composters and community-minded doers for years, we’re now measuring our efforts at TIS and advancing the work we do for social and environmental equity in our community. Cheers to our B Corps! A couple of our clients have recently become certified B Corps (Benefit Corporations), and Local First is leading that effort for West Michigan businesses. I love how B Corp’s tagline, “Be a force for good” sums beautifully the power we have as businesses to do right by our employees, communities, and clients. And I believe it is critical for us as women to lead this effort. Leading the Charge for Sustainability Traditionally, it’s in our nature as women to nurture our families, our neighborhoods, and our communities, but we’re also at the base of nurturing our environment. We have a special relationship with nature biologically, and for us to remain at the helm of this movement, we have to be equals to our male counterparts in developing strategies that will lead us to a sustainable world—and that world in my view encompasses planet, people and business. Women & Environment Symposium Many great women are doing fantastic work in our community, and I’d like to invite you to join our (all-female!) Sustainability Team at WMEAC’s upcoming Women & Environment Symposium next week Wednesday, February 24, 2016. This year the event will focus on women in leadership, with keynote Jacqueline Patterson, NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Director, as well as presentations on faith and environment and diversity and inclusion efforts in the environmental movement in Michigan. One of my mantras is “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” It’s time for us as women in business to stand up and take control of our future. I’ll “borrow” from our friends at B Corp to wrap it up: Let’s “be a force for good”—for our planet, our careers, our communities, and ultimately for our families.