George Bandy, Jr., Global Leader for CSR and Sustainability, has a passion for the environment that dates back to his early youth. He was inspired by his grandmother, who “taught the discipline of being in touch with nature.”
Bandy’s inquisitiveness prompted him to study and minor in environmental business as an undergrad.
In the 1980s Bandy met Paul Hawken, environmentalist and author. Bandy was so inspired by the meeting, he went on to immerse himself in The Natural Step and ultimately became the first Sustainability Officer at the University of Texas at Houston, during a time when that position was first emerging.
In the years since then, sustainability in the business world has been trying to “earn its justification.” But he sees a massive shift over that time from evaluation of products and measurement of energy saving to environmental impacts on health and wellness — worker productivity, and the health of people inside spaces — not just building methods and materials. “People are looking more closely at the social impacts of sustainability.”
Bandy also believes that customers — both consumer and business-to-business are demanding more from the people they work with and ask different questions. “Their knowledge level is immense,” he says.
“How you treat your employees and how you engage with communities is as important as the products you make.”
Last year, Bandy was the recipient of the prestigious Leadership Award by the U.S. Green Building Council (USCBC). Mohawk continues to make a significant commitment to the health and wellness of its workers and community.
Communication is also a key part of sustainability, believes Bandy. “Evolving an organization to one that is truly committed, you need to learn to speak multiple languages. If you’re selling to a CFO, for example, you need to connect sustainability to long-term cost savings or the stock price.”
Bandy believes that ultimately we need to make sustainability more relevant and personal to consumers, business decision-makers, and employees. “People will learn better, perform better, and help their company thrive if their environments are healthier.”
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