For the EVOLution of Business

Sensitizing Stakeholders to Eco-Economics with Bob Bechtold of Harbec

Episode Summary

Bob Bechtold was always fascinated with sustainability. Experiments as a child led to renewable energy projects in his home and eventually found their way to his business endeavors. Yet when Bob went to the bank for loans for wind turbines, they weren't as fascinated by environmentalism as he was. He quickly learned to make the economic case for sustainability and has been a pioneer of eco-economics ever since. Tune in to this episode to hear: -The economic case for renewable energy, biophilic design and the journey toward becoming a zero waste, carbon positive company -The struggles of "sensitizing stakeholders" to start to see your conscious practices as a reason to do business with you -The tenacity required to be a pioneer of sustainable practices Bob is the president and founder of Harbec Plastics, Inc., a progressive injection molding company located in upstate New York, which provides a full service of model making, precision mold making, and complex precision plastic injection molding. His company believes strongly in the value of Eco-Economics and during the past decade he has developed an energy management strategy that includes a cogeneration project which currently provides a portion of their electricity, heat, and air-conditioning requirements, in conjunction with two on-site wind turbines. Currently, Harbec is focused on quantifying its Carbon Footprint with the help of the EPA’s Climate Leaders Program, DOE’s Better Buildings - Better Plants Challenge, ISO 50001/SEP Platinum certification and they became Carbon Neutral in 2013 and Water Neutral in 2015. In 2002, Harbec was awarded the EPA Energy Star for Small Business. In 2011 the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded Harbec the National Award for Innovation in Sustainable Manufacturing and in 2012 they received the Manufacturing Leadership Award for Sustainability.

Episode Notes

[2:15] The inspiration for founding Harbec (in a barn)
[4:50] The evolution of Bob's interest in personal sustainability and eventually applying what he had learned to Harbec
[7:30] Getting bank loans and learning to shift from a purely environmental rationale to an economic one
[12:00] Spreading the "eco-economics" philosophy and the pursuit of carbon neutral
[17:45] Generating green energy and even harnessing "waste heat" for productive ends
[21:30] "Sensitizing stakeholders" to appreciate sustainability
[28:00] Redirecting utility bills toward investments in wind and solar
[32:45] Adding a culture focus to the sustainability focus for a triple bottom line
[35:00] Creating committees that engage and empower employees
Listen to the show on biomimicry and biophilia with Bill Browning here:
[39:45] Measuring cultural success through high retention and employees recruiting their friends and family
[42:45] Advice for individuals and organizations that want to explore living more sustainability
[47:30] The future of the renewable energy industry
[52:45] The next frontier for Harbec: the pursuit of zero-waste, carbon positive and energy storage

Learn more about Harbec here: