A. Lee Graham email@example.com
When it comes to environmental stewardship, Sabre Holdings Inc. is taking the LEED. Not only does its Southlake campus boast LEED designation, meeting standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, but the travel-reservations company’s 10,000 employees pursue eco-friendly policies at offices spanning 60 countries. Such attention to waste reduction, recycling and fuel conservation – the latter strategy offered through the company’s Airlines Solutions division – underscores a growing trend to think green. “It’s a very progressive mindset that we have,” said Dana Centola, co-leader of the Southlake Eco Team, which pursues environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly workplace practices. Sabre is not alone in pursuing such practices. Chick-fil-A’s store at Montgomery Plaza in Fort Worth features low-flow toilets for water conservation and foam cup recycling bins, while the Fort Worth-based aeronautics unit of Lockheed Martin Corp. operates food composting and recycling initiatives. Those are just two of many examples of companies pursuing similar initiatives not only for the environment, but also for profit. According to results of a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Boston Consulting Group released in February, more than a third of companies surveyed reported making a profit from sustainability initiatives, 23 percent more than the previous year. About 37 percent of companies surveyed credited such initiatives for creating that profit, 6 percent more than the previous year. The fourth annual study collected responses from 2,600 executives and managers from companies worldwide. Speaking at a recent Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition meeting, Centola described her company as cognizant of its environmental impact in almost every way. Its Southlake employee cafeteria reuses cooking oil, reuses compostable plates and serves non-endangered, hormone-free meat, while Eco Team members educate fellow employees on organic gardening, rain barrels and xeriscaping, a type of water-efficient landscaping. Where Sabre’s environmental mission truly takes flight is in the marketplace, where its software and smartphone apps encourage fuel conservation and green hotel commerce. “We are doing a really big part around the world helping airlines monitor their fuel consumption,” said Centola, referring to software that helps clients save 4 percent on annual fuel bills. Every gallon of fuel that Sabre technology saves its clients prevents 20 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, according to the company. Sabre software also helps airlines control flight costs by optimizing aircraft weight and deploying the most appropriate aircraft for each flight. Meanwhile, the company’s TripCase app helps travelers monitor flight changes, weather information and related information. “I knew before my gate agent knew that my gate was changed,” Centola said of a recent flight. The company’s Green Hotel Directory lists eco-friendly hotels. Sabre uses information from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to determine whether each hotel follows eco-friendly practices. “Sabre is the only GDS [global distribution system] to have this right now,” said Centola, referring to a system allowing travel agents to search, compare ticket prices and travel services offered by airlines, hotels and other companies. Sabre is among a growing number of companies offering electric car charging stations at their places of business. Two such stations in Southlake come with prime parking spots. “Having reserved parking spots is very important,” said Centola, whose Southlake campus has 6,000 employees and 2,092 parking spaces. The company is considering adding more charging stations.