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Can We Sustain?


Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

The latest issue of Rolling Stone hit my mailbox the other day. I don’t know how I got roped into a subscription; one minute, I’m searching their archive for an article written in the 1970s by Hunter S. Thompson. The next thing I know, I’ve bought a three-month trial subscription, which renews for 12 months automatically, of course, if I forget to cancel.

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On the cover, I see there’s an article about the pollution China is creating as it flexes its industrial muscles. When I go to the feature, I see a photo of Chinese citizens wearing masks bicycling through a thick haze of coal smoke. Holy cow! Really? Is it that bad? I had no clue. How could those people stand for that?

It was fitting, however, to read the article just before jetting off to Washington, D.C., for an AkzoNobel press conference on sustainability. AkzoNobel has been big on sustainability for a long time, but it has always been a somewhat mysterious concept to me and, I’m sure, others.


But the press conference cleared things up for me. Simply put, sustainability is where people, the planet and profit overlap. Basically, corporations today are extracting much more from the environment than they’re putting back in, and this, in the long-term, is unsustainable. At this rate, we’ll eventually run out of resources and/or change the climate so drastically that human life as we know it will be in jeopardy.

At the press conference, AkzoNobel talked of an online sustainability tool scheduled for rollout sometime later this year or early next year. The tool will allow body shop owners to see where they rank among their colleagues as far as sustainability goes.


As AkzoNobel North America Communications Manager Bill Orr said, this is the “blue ocean” view and the triple bottom line benefiting people, the plant and profit.

How sustainable are you? Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself. After all, we’re all in this thing together.

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