Rep. Ruggiero Introduces Bill to Create Business Sustainability Designation

Sunday, February 03, 2019


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Representative Ruggiero

Representative Deborah Ruggiero has introduced a bill encouraging Rhode Island businesses to adopt environmental standards on sustainability.

“Sustainability and social responsibility aren’t just buzzwords. They’re now business practices that provide long-term growth, profit, environmental and societal benefits. Sustainability for a business can range from replacing inefficient lighting, sealing air leaks, recycling, replacing water mains for efficiency, and using safer less toxic cleaning products. This bill provides an avenue for 21st-century businesses to attract young employees, new customers, and investors by developing sustainable standards and metrics. It’s voluntary, but a real opportunity for a business to become a meaningful brand leader,” said Ruggiero.

The legislation, which has been assigned to the House Small Business Committee, has cosponsored by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi, Rep. Alex D. Marszalkowski, Rep. Christopher R. Blazejewski and Rep. Robert E. Craven.

The Legislation

The legislation would create a voluntary, flexible program that would allow businesses to earn a sustainability designation by creating their own set of benchmarks for operating sustainably, and publicly reporting annually on their efforts to adhere to them.

“This is a great opportunity for a Rhode Island business — whether large, small, manufacturer or service provider —  to show their commitment to sustainability. The public standards that the business sets and how they plan to follow them invites a favorable comparison in the industry,” said Kevin O’Neill, chairman of Rhode Island Business Climate Leaders.

Under the Transparency and Sustainability Standards for Rhode Island Businesses Act, a Rhode Island company may adopt a set of sustainability standards and a set of measures for assessing their effort to adhere to them.

The Secretary of State would issue a certificate of adoption of transparency and sustainability standards to those companies that do so, and post their standards and annual reports online.

The program would be voluntary, and would allow each company to determine what its own efforts will entail, since best practices will vary from industry to industry.

However, the bill would require participating businesses to publicly post their plans online, as well as their reports on their efforts to adhere to them, anyone interested in finding out how the company is improving its sustainability would easily be able to learn.


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