- Your Silver LEED building is impressive and beautiful. The rainwater catchment and onsite composting are nice touches. But oh, you forgot to get health insurance for your employees.
- The coffees you sell are delicious, organic and shade grown -- but it's not fair trade. And you use biodegradable sporks -- but your all-part time staff don't get any benefits and have to get health care paid by Medicaid, as if they are working at Walmart and not a self-styled 'sustainable' business.
Having sick employees rely on the ER is the moral equivalent of midnight dumping. Taxpayers foot the bill to clean up the private sector's profit-incentivized mess. These are clear examples of how health care is really a public good, and ought to be paid for and distributed that way.
Thank god for Obamacare, even though it's only a small, small step in the right directon.
Even nonprofit organizations can be part of the problem they're trying to alleviate. For instance, I am familiar with a major, respected human services agency that requires its staff to pay into a 401K plan.
It makes sense as a way to improve personal, long term financial sustainability (ignoring that a 401K is also a good way to expose your retirement savings to Wall Street greedheads).
But it turns out this organization pays staff salaries that are below average,* and health plan premiums are $ky-high if your doctor doesn't work at the preferred HMO.
In a high cost of living place like Seattle, this nonprofit's personnel policy means employees -- after all the payroll deductions -- face the real possibility of losing money every month.
In a way, the agency makes its employees part of the at-risk population they serve. Not good for staff recruitment -- and not really sustainable.
Update 1Another example: 'Green' Vancouver developer tickets employee for 'unprofessional' all-day use of bike rack
* Management, naturally, earn generous salaries. It's as if they don't realize anyone can look up 990 tax returns on the internet.