In The Beginning (1988)
In an effort to identify, regulate, monitor and control damage caused by Hazardous Waste, California enacted regulations mandating all Counties study the issue. This includes:
- Where Hazardous Waste is being generated
- Where Hazardous Waste is being used
- Where Hazardous Waste is being stored
The Los Angeles County study found that while much of the hazardous materials were being used in Cities like El Segundo (Raytheon, Northrop, Hughes, Air Force, TRW, Direct TV, McDonnell Douglass, Aerospace Corp, Paper Companies, etc.), most of the Hazardous Waste was being stored in cities like Hawthorne, Huntington Park and Compton.
Possible solutions being considered by the County included monitoring waste, fines, limiting production to reduce use and generation of toxins and restricting certain substances.
Among others, Jaime A. Lozano (representing Northrop) was appointed to represent business in discussions with the County on their findings. The goal, to develop equitable solutions to these Environmental Justice issues.
Working closely with local government officials, this business committee was able to help find a solution that allowed businesses to continue to be effective while integrating solutions to better control toxic waste streams.
Note: Part of the conclusion from these joint meetings was that the county is not a production based waste generator and does not have the understanding of how to work with toxic chemicals, let alone manage it. That reduction of toxic waste is best handled by the professionals with oversight by the county regulators.
Formation; the Original Business Environmental Coalition (1989)
New Regulations... California passed AB-939 the Integrated Waste Management Act in 1989
Assembly Bill 939, mandated that all Cities and Counties reduce solid waste production in their communities. With requirements as follows:
- Establish a baseline of annual waste sent to landfills in 1990 as a baseline for reduction
- By 1995, all communities must have reduced or diverted 25% of waste from the landfill
- By 2000, all communities must have reduced or diverted 50% of waste from the landfill
State regulations included that communities were required to focus on 50% diversion or face a $10,000.00 per day fine retroactively if they do not meet the 50% requirement in 2000.
Much like with the Toxic Waste efforts in 1988, it simply made sense to have a group of businesses willing to work with governing agencies to help find solutions that would meet the regulatory goals as well as allow businesses to grow providing services and employment to the communities.
Again, a group of businesses including Jaime A. Lozano representing Northrop came together at a meeting to discuss how their businesses could best support their respective communities in implementing and integrating these new regulations and provide an ongoing solution that would keep businesses more involved in the composition and implementation of these regulations as well as help to meet these requirements.
Xerox Corporation hosted the first meetings to determine their mutual interest in becoming more proactive in Environmental Regulations. Present were:
- Dan McClaine - TRW
- Jaime A. Lozano - Northrop – Aircraft Division
- Yue Yu Widrig - Widrig and Associates
- The Gas Company
They agreed to work together and in doing so this group effected significant improvements to how the policies of AB-939 were implemented in the South Bay area.
Later, in 1992, the organization formally incorporated as a 501(c)6 Mutual Benefit organization and named it the South Bay Business Environmental Coalition (SBBEC).
As time passed, the SBBEC evolved. Through efforts to educate the public, sponsor Science Fairs and recognize businesses for environmental achievement with the SEED awards (Originally developed by Jaime A. Lozano as a way to recognize business environmental achievement). Eventually, the SBBEC became less focused on effecting change to environmental regulation and more focused on these educational and event related activities.
Business Environmental Coalition Founded (2015)
Still deeply attached to his original vision of businesses working with community leaders to effect positive change in environmental policy and coupled with a request by members of CalRecycle to find a way to replicate a SBBEC original model to other communities throughout California, Jaime A. Lozano partnered with Chuck Peavey to define and establish an organization capable of providing support to businesses on a broader state and national level giving businesses a voice at the table of environmental regulation and enforcement.
The goal and objective of the BEC is to give businesses a voice in the environmental community and an opportunity to effect change with regard to overreaching legislation and the unintended consequences that not only squelch business but often have a negative impact on the environment or keep Business Owners from being able to make the most ecologically friendly and cost effective choices in their own business.
Members of the BEC are concerned about the environment, and they understand that the ultimate goal of becoming a successful 'Zero Waste' company takes time, it can not just happen overnight.