Brickman leading sustainable business network

Ken Brickman, the new director of the Catamount Institute’s Sustainable Business Network saw potential for building sustainability in Colorado Springs all the way from Cleveland, Ohio.

So, he left his job as a manager with a mattress recycling company and moved to the Pikes Peak Region. He took a job at The Home Depot and later at Greener Corners recycling company and waited for an even bigger opportunity to advance sustainability.

That opportunity came when he met Catamount Executive Director Darlene Jensen.

“Ken has the passion to see sustainability through,” Jensen said. “And he has the business savvy and understanding to see it implemented not just into the business world but into our community.”

The Sustainable Business Network has been in place for three years but launched an online network for its 130 business members earlier this year. Brickman hopes to expand the network.

“There are 41,000 businesses in Colorado Springs,” Brickman said. “I’d like to see every one of them be a member. A realistic goal, I feel, is 10 percent of that. It’s ambitious, but realistic.”

He said he aims to build the network by adding value to it through the creation of more networking and outreach programs. He also hopes to increase education for members and nonmembers.

“Sustainability is becoming more evident in the bottom line,” Brickman said. “Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of sustainability and it’s becoming more important to them. Businesses have to respond.”

As consumers become more aware, Brickman said it will be the Sustainable Business Network’s job to make sure its members are educated on best practices and opportunities for becoming greener.

The network has started offering certifications and will likely create more defined guidelines principles for member businesses.

Becoming greener not only impacts a company’s public image, Jensen said. It can have positive effects on business budgets. And sometimes all it takes is a little education. Companies might not know they can save by refilling their ink cartridges instead of sending them to the landfill or that composting can help restaurants cut their garbage bills.

“No accountant ignores the numbers on a spreadsheet,” Brickman said. “We’re moving from an Earthy crunchy attitude about sustainability to something where we can all be in this together.”