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I spent a good deal of time today with a green restaurant association CEO discussing how green initiatives can fit in our business model and work for both our business and the communities we live in.  What we found is there are many ways we can improve our business without hurting our product quality.  We can use less water.  We can lower our carbon footprint.  We can lessen our waste volume through things like improved recycling and composting.  And all of these things can be done at little to no cost.  This is not only good for the environment.  It is smart business. More and more people want to shop at stores that do these things and will do so more often.  And people increasingly want to work for companies that live this value system.  Where possible, Great Harvest should and will be a leader in greening our business.

Can we profitably run a solar powered bakery?  Probably not in 2012, but we can understand how to reduce our energy use and water consumption.  Can we take waste to zero?  Again, probably not, but I did have a theoretical discussion today on how to get close.

Can we become a business that has zero carbon emissions and no waste?  Probably not but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.  In today's world, that is not only smart business, it is the right thing to do. 

How would you like to see us green our bakeries?

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I am Mike Ferretti, the Chairman and CEO of Great Harvest. But, I am also a dad who grew up in a world with old fashioned business ethics. Before Great Harvest, I thought those days and companies were gone. Luckily, I now get to work with a group with a strong moral compass that genuinely lives "Give generously to others" and "Run fast to serve customers." And we do it with more than just lip service in a way that allows us to set an example for others. I am proud that my kids are proud of what I do for a living.