We made the decision this week to stop ordering bottled water to our Gibbons venues.
We’re really excited about it, considering it a first step of sorts as we really look to challenge our supply line throughout the organization and examine what we can do to make our company better. Our current stock will be phased out over the coming weeks and will not be replaced with more plastic bottles. We know this is the right thing to do.
We’re looking at the possibility of bringing in permanent water canisters that our guests can buy at our bars and take away with them. Or, our guests can ask for a glass of fresh tap water; it’s not only free but Whistler also has some of the best drinking water in the world.
Our decision reminds me of how quickly things can do a 180-degree turn in a company.
Not that long ago we were looking at branding and selling our own Gibbons bottled water. We even shifted to a more environmentally-sound plastic bottle, recognizing that some plastics are better than others. The shift, however, wasn’t far enough. We soon realized it.
According to a May editorial in the local paper, Pique Newsmagazine, that was published amid a local groundswell of support to ban bottled water in the municipality, people around the world throw away 35 billion plastic bottles of water every year, with estimates that more than 80 per cent of single-use water bottles in the U.S. become litter. Just try to imagine 1,000 plastic bottles or 1 million plastic bottles. Thirty-five billion is a staggering number.
Our decision to get rid of bottled water comes as we begin to delve into the process of becoming a B Corps company. B Corps, as we learned at a recent conference, are for-profit companies, like ours, who pass the test on meeting very high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. There are more than 2,100 Certified B Corps around the world. We hope to be one more!
We know this is the right thing to do from an environmental and social standpoint. The way I see it, if Gibbons is a company known for pushing the boundaries on doing the right thing, I know we can attract top-tier people to our organization, the kind of people that strive to push the envelope in business. Those are the kind of people that we want.
In the meantime, we continue to go through every line item in the organization and ask the tough questions — Do we need this? How can we do it better? Is this the right product or process for our business?
I’m looking forward to our answers.