MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: SUSTAINABLE FITNESS, LLC
with Tony Pontecorvo
Principal, Sustainable Fitness, LLC
What is your personal approach to sustainability? Where/how did you start?
On a personal level, my commitment to sustainability goes back over 20 years. I have been blessed in that I live in Branford across the street from a private beach on Long Island Sound. First of all, I have been recycling paper and plastic since the state began the collection program as I never wanted to see those items in a landfill, especially when they could be saved and transformed into a useful resource. Secondly, I used to roam the beach and pick up trash: paper, plastic, all sorts of stuff including a ton of cigarillo tips (I never imagined that so many people smoked cigarillos!) and toss 2, 3 or 4 bags of stuff into the recycling or trash bin. Why? Because I was so disgusted that those items would end up on the beach or in Long Island Sound. Water is our most valuable resource and I was amazed and disgusted that so many people would take that for granted and not take the extra effort to protect this wonderful resource. Lastly, I am not a big believer in putting crushed 10 year old cars in the junkyard. I drive a 25 year old Volvo!
What are some of the ways in which your company has benefited from its sustainable business practices?
To me it was never about the money. Sustainable Fitness has benefited primarily from the fact that we are offering a compelling product/service line that is a multi-beneficial differentiator that any facility with a sustainability initiative should strongly consider incorporating. Additionally, our product/service offerings compares very favorably with the competition and also serves the common good. When you break it down to fundamentals, isn’t that what it’s all about?
What are some of the challenges your company faces in deepening its commitment to sustainability?
I believe the biggest obstacle is that a lot of organizations “talk the sustainability talk, but don’t walk the sustainability walk”. Example? On several occasions I would collaborate with a prospective customer who would state that sustainability was a high priority. Later on in the sales process the customer would request to put TV’s on the cardio equipment vs. using ECO-friendly (energy generating) cardio equipment and put the TV’s on wall, whereby the electrical savings would more than offset the electricity use of the TV’s.
In circumstances that require capital investments, how do you justify the expenditure?
Sustainability benefits and financial ROI can be accomplished in a number of ways.
- Lower carbon footprint. Imagine the impact if 1000’s of facilities implemented ECO-fitness?
- A green fitness center is a great marketing tool/draw for prospective members/residents.
- Making a statement that the company/facility is committed to sustainability.
- Electrical savings, although not significant provide an additional benefit.
- SportsArt, my vendor and the world leader in ECO-friendly fitness equipment provides a warranty unsurpassed in the industry and a better value overall head-head vs. other leading brands including: price, warranty, belt size, speed range, motor (ECO-POWR motor vs. ac) and maximum user weight equating to greater value and lower cost of ownership.
- Check out the energy savings calculator – https://us.gosportsart.com/eco-calculator/
How would you describe your sustainability vision five years from now?
It will certainly evolve as products/services make strides. For example, SportsArt, my vendor and the world leader in ECO-friendly fitness equipment just introduced two new self-powered Treadmills, one of which can also generate electricity. This is obviously a product breakthrough as the bulk of the SportsArt Treadmill line saves but doesn’t generate electricity and none of those are self powered. We can certainly expect future product enhancements that will deliver additional sustainable and financial benefits.
If you were just starting your sustainability efforts today, is there anything you would you do differently?
My mission and efforts now are:
- Our goal is to deliver a level of service that surpasses expectations and provides assurance of our total commitment to clients.
- Our priority is to conduct ourselves in every business relationship and transaction with integrity and transparency.
- Our commitment is to have a sense of urgency to respond promptly and thoroughly to every need of our clients.
- Our purpose is to strive to communicate our passion for fitness by educating people, young and old, on the health-enhancing benefits of fitness and by evangelizing the long-term benefits of implementing ECO-friendly fitness facilities.
In the future, I do not believe I would change anything.