For the cost of a daily latte, the co-founders of Green Street USA aim to help small and medium-sized enterprises with increasingly demanding and prominent sustainability issues.
“You can Google around and find a free checklist. At the other end of the spectrum, you can hire a consultant at $250 an hour,” said Joel E. Fishman, chief evangelist. “We’ve tried to find a sweet spot with some hand-holding and some interaction” for as little as $5 or so a day.
Fishman and Alan B. Horowitz, the chief experience officer, both live in Chadds Ford and just before the pandemic formed their business, incorporated as a Pennsylvania benefit company, meaning that Green Street aims to make the world a better place while it makes a profit.
Sustainability can save money, they said, and well-promoted efforts can draw customers.
Environmental and social responsibility are the most prominent parts of sustainability. But it also includes risk and resilience; waste, circularity and stewardship; water management; energy and climate; health, safety and well-being; diversity, equity and inclusion; and compliance, integrity and ethics.
After earning key support from Denita Henderson at the Delaware Small Business Development Center at the University of Delaware, they’re targeting the Wilmington area for companies and nonprofits in the $500,000 to $100 million range – a sector that represents half the U.S. economy.
Green Street USA lists eight subscribers so far: the Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington; Brookside Liquors in Newark; Janssen’s Market in Greenville; Peter Kate, a boutique in Fairfax; Philter, a coffeeshop in Kennett Square; St. Andrew’s School in Middletown; Signature Construction & Design in New Castle; and Wise & Blitzer, a law firm in Stevensville, Maryland.
Their business starts out with identifying clients’ priorities and then moves on to tactics to achieve them, like webinars and other connections. The cycle continues with “year-end sustainability reports suitable for sharing with stakeholders, just like the big guys,” the site says, and promotional support to “let the world know you’ve committed to a thriving future.”
While we have always strived to be a good corporate citizen and community member, Green Street thought leaders have helped us see how the little decisions can add up to be valuable steps towards sustainability,” said Paula S. Janssen of Janssen’s Market. “Seeing decisions through the lens of sustainability will add value to our organization in the long term. We have sped up implementations of projects that had long been on the to-do list, including a food waste software solution.”
Both co-founders were asked for one way they support sustainability in their personal lives and homes.
Horowitz – an environmental attorney with decades of experience in sustainability and its components at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and Microsoft – said that he buys electricity generated by renewables. “I truly believe in the unlimited potential of the private sector to drive change and make a difference,” he explained.
Fishman – a serial entrepreneur who at 58 started on a master’s degree in environmental studies – ticked off a longer list. That included installing geothermal energy; planting hundreds of native trees; and using items powered by renewably generated electricity, such as a Tesla, a snow blower and a chain saw. “The future has to be electrifying everything and getting that electricity from renewables. I’m trying to march down that road personally,” he said.