New Program Helps Businesses Increase Sustainability While Saving Costs

Furman University's Center for Corporate and Professional Development is introducing a new corporate sustainability program that can help businesses lower operational costs in the areas of energy, water and waste management while also positively impacting the community.

The BESTsm (Businesses Engaged in Sustainability for Tomorrow) program uses an online process to allow organizations to easily identify, benchmark and reduce their operating costs through a simple, intuitive process that collects data and provides specific recommendations tied to business types and associated activities.

"After participants take an in-class or online seminar and provide data about resource usage, BEST will generate a plan specific to a business's facility and type of business," said Dr. Brad Bechtold, director of Continuing Education at Furman.  "That, in turn, will generate a series of recommendations, estimated costs and savings, and associated incentives to better manage resources and reduce operating costs."

BEST also provides a custom dashboard specific to each organization with detailed reports, snapshots and access to additional information on an on-going basis.

Bechtold said many of the recommendations generated through BEST have no cost associated with them, while other recommendations are tied to low-cost or capital investment solutions.  The program will also provide calculations that allow businesses to estimate savings upfront, as well as monthly customized reports for each organization.

Cost for the program is $99 annually, which covers the seminar or webinar, BEST assessment tool and plan creation, ongoing monthly reports, and a detailed company BEST webpage.

Companies that have already partnered with Furman and BEST include Lowe's, Greenville Hospital System, The City of Greenville, Greer Chamber of Commerce, Greenville Water System, Laurens Electric, Goodwill Industries, Bon Secours Saint Francis Hospital, Elliott Davis, CBRE-The Furman Company, Piedmont Natural Gas, BI-LO, Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Ten at the Top and Waste Industries.

BEST is the culmination of a year-long research and development initiative undertaken by Furman with support from a grant through the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the participation of many partner organizations.

"BEST is part of Furman's Vision 2020 to reach out through innovative educational processes and positively impact the Greenville community," Bechtold said.  "Business is critical to the economy of our state and region, and the impact this program will have on businesses will be felt throughout the community and beyond."

For more information about BEST, please contact Dr. Brad Bechtold at (864) 294-3136 or by email at or visit our website at