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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 4:18 pm 
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Hi all, new to the forum, thought I'd ask here first. I am trying to build a business case to encourage the company I work for to go organic. What that means is I need to be able to show them things like: how much organic landscaping maintenance would cost (and contrast that with regular landscaping maintenance) plus, some nice bullet points (very high level) on other advantages of organic gardening, etc.

So far, all of the landscaping maintenance companies I've found in the Dallas area are aimed at homeowners. Anyone got anything aimed at maintenance for a business?

Also, I'd like to propose this for recycling, maybe integrated pest management, etc... a whole program for the "green company." Basically if I can show them that "X" will save them money it's got a much better chance of being adopted. Has anyone ever seen anything like this or put together anything like this?

Cheers,
C


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:04 pm 
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I know someone (do not have a name for you though) at Frito-Lay did the math on this one. It will be different in each case however, according to the current state of the soil. You could use the example of a homeowner and just mention the savings will be multiplied by 10 for example. A very wize man who is all organic spent $40 a month in his water bills with a wife and teenage daughter at home during a very hot Texas drought. His neighbor (synthetic chemical guy) spent $200 the same month to keep his lawn alive. You can get examples on large scale operations from "The Soil and Health" by Sir Albert Howard. Although written in the '40's, the book remains a cornerstone in the organic methods information arena! 8)
Good luck to you and a high five for helping to convert the world. :wink:
Anyone else out there have some examples?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 9:45 pm 
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I think my evil ways :shock: would take over and the case for what a law suit could cost a company for employee exposure to toxic chemicals would be my path. Give those risk management folks the fear treatment--and think of it as your ministry for improving God's land. :D

On the serious side--a company that takes the responsibility with integrity to provide a healthier environment makes a statement that builds an image of good will that is overwhelmingly profitable regardless of the bottom line of expense. It is my belief that even if the actual cost of organic versus chemical were the same, the benefits of organic measures are so profound and beneficial to everyone, the possibilities of success are weighted heavy in your favor in moving to the organic method.

Can you provide a beautiful landscape with organic products that do not harm humans? Absolutely. Can you afford it? The question is--can you afford the risk of not changing and being a part of the solution to a healthier world. It is something I would think most companies would be eager to attempt and be proud of. Good luck! - Susan

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 7:50 am 
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This past fall I finally convinced my company to go organic in our landscape and turf maintenance. It took about a year to get them to approve this project. The company is in an industrial park in S. Dallas. There are seven facilities on approximatly 2 city blocks. We have just over 4 acres of turf and landscape to maintain. I have one full time employee to perform this maintenance. During the winter months he helps the janitorial staff Dring the growing seasons, he works most Saturdays to keep up with the yard.

The main points of my project proposal were not reductions in landscaping costs, but how an organic program would benefit the company in other ways.

1. The chemical program was just not working. We had planted several dozen trees 3/4 years ago and 16 of them are on poor shape. The turf did not look healthy and our soil is very compacted. We also had a bad fire ant problem. I found all the information I could (much of it from this site) on exactly how an organic program would improve all these areas.

2. The City of Dallas has one of the strictest Storm Water Runoff control programs in the country. Yes, they have been in the news for problems in that department, but they are still very aggressive in enforcement. An organic program will minimize storm water runoff issues as we are adding no chemicals to the enviornment with organic products. Also, when the city knows you have committed to an organic program, they are more apt to help you resolve any potiential issues you may have but do not know about.

3. The company manufactures parts for the automotive industry. The automotove industry is begining to require vendors to certify that they are taking steps to improve the enviornment, reduce waste, and reduce energy usage. An organic program would be one part of acheiving that certification. I do not know what business your company is in, but, I assume you sell product. The fact that you are a "green" company could go far with your customer base. When you do go organic, it would be easy to get the local newspaper to do an article on your company. Free advertizing :D

4. The only area I pushed as a potential cost reduction, was water useage. I pointed out that during the hottest part of the summer, we would only have to water our 4+ acres once a week instead of every other day as we had been doing.

I did not push the cost savings potential of an organic program because I knew the initial cost would be higher. I did not want anyone to get "sticker shock" when I ordered 4000 lbs of CGM :wink:

You mentioned recycling in your post. If you are in Texas, and you company generates Haz Waste, you are required to have a documented Waste Reduction Program. Recycling is one part of a Waste Reduction Program.

When selling the organic program, I did not promise instant improvement. I made it clear that it would be two years or so before all the benefits of the program would be obvious.

I hope this helps.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 1:04 am 
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I would think it would be an easy case to make. The only problem is, as one organic writer pointed out, people will only hear/understand things they already believe. If the chief decision maker does not believe organic methods and materials will work, you cannot convince him with a Powerpoint presentation.

One thing you might try is starting with a small patch to demonstrate the concept. Take lots of pictures and document everything that you use on the area. Mowing will be the same. Start up costs should be basically zero, just start fertilizing. Water should be less on the organic. Fertilizer should cost less on the organic.* Herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide should be non existant on the organic. The potential for turf burning will be zero. The potential for an accidental toxic spill will be zero. The potential for an accidental skin burning will be zero. Be sure you follow the following three steps toward excellent turf.

1. Water deeply and infrequently. Deeply means at least an hour in every zone, all at once. Infrequently means monthly during the cool months and no more than weekly during the hottest part of summer. If your grass looks dry before the month/week is up, water longer next time. Deep watering grows deep, drought resistant roots. Infrequent watering allows the top layer of soil to dry completely which kills off many shallow rooted weeds.

2. Mow at the highest setting on your mower. Most grasses are the most dense when mowed tall. Bermuda, centipede, and bent grasses are the most dense when mowed at the lowest setting on your mower. Dense grass shades out weeds and uses less water when tall. Dense grass feeds the deep roots you're developing in 1 above.

3. Fertilize regularly. I fertilize 4 times per year using organic fertilizer. Which fertilizer you use is much less important than numbers 1 and 2 above.


*Fertilizer costs less because you will be smart and buy your own ingredients at a feed store in plain brown bags instead of yellow and green bags with lots of writing on them.

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 Post subject: Thanks all!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 10:25 am 
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Based on ya'lls feedback I have a couple of thoughts as to how I'm going to take this. First, I'm going to work on the people angle... try to target a couple of VPs who might be interested, on an informal basis first. (And see if I can make them think it's their idea, heh heh heh.) Second, I think the cost might look better as part of an all-around 'green' program. For example, if we can encourage people to use their mugs instead of styrofoam cups, that's about 2 cents a cup right there. We're big coffee drinkers, too. :D

FYI, I also found a great website for all around sustainable environmental issues:

http://greenyes.grrn.org/index.html

Thanks everybody!


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