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Good deed doers

Saturday, December 5, 2015 - 08:00
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While there might not be a direct correlation between a business’s altruism and profit, a vigorous relationship with its community and environment can lead to a healthier shop. As the journal Psychology Today puts it, “most of us realize that when we make the effort to give without expectations of reciprocity, we feel fulfilled and energized.”

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No doubt this can work on a company level too, as firms reach out to improve the world beyond their four walls. It can be as simple as cooperating with local initiatives, or perhaps investing in energy-saving technology which helps the environment; providing assistance to the needy, or even relief missions to other countries. Each method seeks to offset circumstance with endeavor, to operate an ecologically and ethically sustainable business in the community at large.

Of course ecological concerns are more prevalent out West, particularly during periods of drought. Situated in the heart of Seattle, WA, the grounds of David Winters’ Swedish Automotive is certified as a wildlife habitat. “We have a lot of birds and squirrels who are quite happy here,” boasts Winters.  

For a piece of property to qualify, basic requirements include having sources of food and water and a place for wildlife to raise their young. “Some of the plantings were here when we moved in,” Winters states. “We have some nice berries—the birds like those—and we put in four birdhouses about two years ago that’ve hatched about half a dozen sets of chicks.

“Most of our landscaping and plantings are green—we don’t use any chemicals,” he continues. “Most are also drought resistant, but we are still watering about three days a week until the trees get really established.”

25th Street Automotive in Phoenix, Arizona utilizes solar panels on the shop's roof.

George’s Sierra Shell in Fontana, CA recently removed all of their grasslands and replaced them with rock garden landscaping through the state’s Be Water Wise program. A $12,000 incentive helped motivate owner Doug Whiteman initially, but he reports their water bill dropped from $350 a month to $70.

Whiteman went ahead and installed solar panels, as did Bill Coniom of 25 Street Automotive in Phoenix, AZ, even though his state is more concerned with conserving water. “(My) solar doesn’t really pay for itself because I don’t have a lot of roof space,” notes Coniom, “but it was the right thing to do. Whether you believe in global warming or not, you have to believe that humans are the custodians of this planet. We really need to do more than what’s required of us.”

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