Back in December 2007, I wrote a rambling blog about Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability (aka CSR) on the SAP SDN network site. In part, it was a reaction to a running dialog between Marilyn Pratt of SAP and me on the meaning and intent of social responsibility. Much of what I saw posted on the SAP web site seemed to be pitched to the executive level, almost at a command-and-control mentality of "your company should do such-and-such." My argument was that the vast majority of us have little direct influence on policies where we work. Very big indirect impact, but very little of what the SAP CSR wiki was saying. So I wanted to express where I was coming from.
I think I succeeded, given the feedback I got from SAP community members around the world, particularly with new friends in Europe, South America and Asia. Using the term "guru" resonated with people. So, what's the story with the water bottle disposal?
After posting the blog on SDN, I shared it with friends and relatives, including printing a copy for my mother to read. A small portion of the story dealt with my department purchasing and distributing bottled drinking water. I expressed my opinion that this practice was wasteful, and had a discussion with the IT vice-president, among others. Shortly thereafter, the department policy was changed, and people who wanted to drink bottled water could use the large refillable bottles delivered by those big trucks. No more small, disposable bottles for the IT department!
This isn't the huge company-wide cultural shift that may come one day, as bottled water is still available in vending machines and in the cafeteria. But the trash cans on our floor no longer overflow with empty plastic bottles.
Below is a shot of my "Leave No Trace" refillable water bottle at the Bloggers Corner of the ASUG 2008 / Sapphire conference. The aluminum cans in the background were not mine.