Category Archives: Blog

PK Clean: Sending Plastic Back to the Future


By: Brittney Ann Devey

When thinking about strong environmental action, developing a commercial process for manipulating plastics may not seem as important as driving a hybrid car or loud protesting over the development of wild lands.

Priyanka Bakaya Interview 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

CEO Priyanka Bakaya explaining her work.

Behind the scenes, PK Clean’s CEO Priyanka Bakaya is quietly going about developing a revolutionary process that, if fully adopted, could remove all plastics out of every landfill on the planet in the long run. Though she may not refer to herself as an environmentalist, Bakaya has made incredible strides on the pathway of environmentalism.

Waste is by far one of the largest issues across the globe. In a world run by consumerism, one can never have enough stuff in the package of convenience. The problem with this package of convenience is that it comes in the form of plastic, seven different types. Though #1 and #2 plastics, like soda bottles, are easier to recycle, it takes more energy and effort for the #3 through #7, which includes such diverse products as plastic bags and hard plastics like computer keyboards. Lucky for us, the size of the challenge has not deterred Ms. Bakaya working hard to develop the process that turns mountains of garbage into fuel we can use.

CEO Bakaya of PK Clean was inspired from a young age to change the world in the way of waste and to turn the process into a closed loop system. A close family friend Bakaya considered as a grandfather, Percy Kean, had entertained the idea over and over that waste didn’t need to be wasted. He had come up with several ideas for clean energy but never had the chance to test his ideas on a large scale. She felt inclined to share this knowledge with the world and to perfect it in a way that could be used to power the larger things in life.

PK Clean can turn roughly 10 tons of plastic into 60 barrels of oil when running at full capacity. The technique produces so much energy that she can power and heat the reactor in which the process takes place. Each barrel takes about $25-30 to make and PK Clean can sell them to refineries at $100 a barrel. The plastic is converted into 70-80% diesel and 10-20% natural gas, and each barrel is almost 100% sulfate free.

It is estimated that plastic use grows annually 8% in the United States. It truly is about time that we have found a way to use this ever growing waste collection, especially with only 7-8% of plastic being recycled in U.S. households. Hopefully this will cause more plastics to be recycled and put it to use
as fuel to reduce the rate of extraction of additional fossil fuels.

This revolutionary idea couldn’t have come to life without a revolutionary attitude. Bakaya was empowered in her childhood to do whatever she could and wanted; this has caused her to grow into a woman of power and self-awareness. She knows like anyone that it is hard to be perfectly sustainable but she puts effort in where she can. Being vegetarian, consciously shopping, and traveling in the most efficient form she can, she implements her good nature into everything she does.

Ms. Bakaya strives to do good work and encourages others to do the same. Along with her smarts, she has heart. She was quite nervous and unsure about how to get started in plastics recycling, even though she felt she should. She says “you always know more than you think you know” and even after taking that initial step to start her business, she wishes she would have done it sooner. While she could have started a few years earlier, the solutions that Priyanka Bakaya and her colleagues are creating  can still help to save the world.

Brittney Ann Devey 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brittney Ann Devey is a 2014 University of Utah graduate who majored in environmental studies.  She is interviewed Utah business sustainability leaders as an intern with P3 Utah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefit Corporation Legislation – Part 3


Part 3:  Protection of Impact Investing

One great expectation of this public policy, is that it allow significant levels of impact investment in Utah.  According to the definition of the Global Impact Investing Network: “Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.” According to a 2009 report from research firm the Monitor Group, “the impact investing industry could grow from around US$50 billion in assets to US$500 billion in assets within the subsequent decade,” and we are at the midpoint of this period.

Current law has largely disqualified Utah firms from receiving impact funds.  The benefit corporation structure protects impact funds because owners are relieved of the sole accountability for financial returns and permitted to pursue greater social returns.  Maximizing financial return has evolved into investor fixation on short term quarterly ROI for owners.  More than 90 days is usually required to generate the substantial returns for the community and environment through any organizational effort including a commercial enterprise.

The recently launched Sorenson Global Impact Fund, located in Salt Lake City, is one such impact investing source.  Lewis Hower, Sorenson’s manager, welcomes the advent of benefit and the prospect if brings from funds like Sorenson, to invest in its own hometown, rather than solely in the third world.  “The benefit corporation framework is simply one that provides the tools necessary for transparency and accountability for business, people and the planet. As the growth of the impact investing sector continues there is a need for structures and systems that drive and facilitate more outside investment coming into the state to support these types of endeavors.”

This new form of business may allow a way forward for some of Utah’s 50+ L3C companies that are stymied by lack of federal tax regulation clarification concerning their unique ability to blend philanthropic revenue streams with traditional commercial investment revenue sources.  Likewise, on brief examination, it is possible to confuse the community serving and accountability characteristic of the benefit corporation with a nonprofit corporation.

Confusion of the benefit corporation with L3Cs and nonprofit corporation is understandable but misplaced.  The benefit corporation a purely commercial structure, designed to generate unlimited financial returns just the same as an existing domestic or foreign corporation but with support of generating additional community value as financial profit is generated.

It remains to be seen if benefit corporations are truly the way most business will look in the foreseeable future.  Lewis  Hower agrees with Senators Valentine and Jones that it time to put this new form of business to work in Utah:  “The need for scalable and sustainable solutions that address some of the issues facing not only our nation but more specifically the state of Utah has never been more pressing than now. The great thing about the benefit corporation is that it provides a framework and support structure for supporting the use of business and market driven solutions no matter what the cause area of focus may be. From education to clean air, social welfare to water rights the framework of the benefit corporation supports the scale and measurement necessary to drive progress.”

Part 1:  Summary, Function and Reporting
Part 2:  How this Helps Business Owners

Benefit Corporation Legislation – Part 2


Part 2:  How this Helps Business Owners

The benefit corporation expands the freedom of business owners to better align their business with their community supporting values.  There are many business owners and managers in Utah that express their civic and environmental stewardship responsibilities through their business activity.  They seek greater opportunities to align their companies with the growing market component of consumers who desire to support these responsible companies through their purchasing.  This is one of the primary ways that the residents can create the communities they desire:  by voting with their dollars.

Perhaps for critically, benefic corporations protect their core values when selling their businesses, allowing a corporation to take the best overall offer, rather than being forced to take the most financially lucrative offer.  This might also help keep businesses that are built in Utah from leaving the state once they grow and succeed.  What sort of businesses might take the most advantage of this feature of benefit corporations?  Private schools, professional corporations, family built manufacturing and well, it could be almost any type of business that has built a value-centered enterprise and has drawn o that well of value at the heart of their business to grow.

This new form of business will not add to the tax burdens of any business.  The cost to implement is only a few thousand dollars to add new content to the state website.  There will be no extensive new regulations, inspections or enforcement activities created as a result of business owners exercising this new option.  The broad accountability of benefit corporations should provide adequate disclosure and oversight by the community served by the business.

One of the most hoped for benefits from this legislation is the prospect that large scaled adoption by the business community could significantly reduce demands on government services.  Business has the capacity to innovate and move much quicker to adjust its activities.  It is highly possible that responsible business practices can make a dent community and environmental challenges, in concert with other community institutions, including nonprofit and faith based organizations as well as government agencies.  If government cannot grow it will need to become better to raising its effectiveness and only private activity can grow in a healthy way to provide public benefits.  This is the promise of benefit corporations, as en evolution in capitalism.

Is this new form of business seen as attractive to Utah businesses?  While opinion research is absent, there are several positive indicators.  First is the fact that over the past year, there are now three certified B Corps in Utah, a very challenging third party verified standard.  There are almost 40 companies that are on the path to considering use of this Patagonia/Ben and Jerry’s level of corporate triple bottom line performance.

Another indicator is the fact the two benefit corporations already exist in Utah but they were registered in Maryland and Delaware, because the option to create benefit corporations in Utah have not existed.  Furthermore, data does support the idea that younger generations of entrepreneurs and MBA students are much more enthusiastic than preceding generations about the value of a supportive workplace and the need to do more through business to sustain our ecosystem.

Part 1:  Summary, Function and Reporting
Part 3:  Protection of Impact Investing


					

Benefit Corporation Legislation – Part 1


Part 1:  Summary, Function and Reporting

Summary

Utah is poised to become the 20th state to allow the benefit corporations as a business form.  Initiated in 2010 in Maryland, the benefit corporation is an alternative to existing foreign and domestic registration options for Utah business owners.  The significant features of this from are:  intent of the owners; focus on expanding positive community and environmental outcomes; accountability to extended stakeholders; and protection of owner values and impact investing.  The bill authorizing benefit corporations, S.B. 133, closely follows the current national model and is being sponsored by Senator John Valentine at the request of P3 Utah.  Senator Pat Jones has signed on as the first co-sponsor of this important legislation.

Function

Passage of this law would establish a new optional form of state business registration for new or existing businesses.  The articles of incorporation for a benefit corporation must state that the benefit corporation exists to provide public benefits, both for the community and the environment.  The new form is intended to expand legal protection for corporations interested in producing greater positive social and environmental outcomes through their commercial operations. Benefit corporations must provide transparency on attainment of these benefits to wider group of stakeholders beyond owners.   While existing corporations are accountable solely to their shareholders for the generation of financial gains, benefit corporations are accountable to all stakeholders that are impacted by the company’s public benefits.  These stakeholders could be customers, neighborhood residents or others.

Reporting

The public benefits attained by the benefit corporation will be published annually in a report that will be available both on the company’s website and filed with the Utah Division of Corporations.  These public benefits must be reported according to a third party triple bottom line standard.  The benefit corporation must provide a justification for the standard selected.  There are currently about one dozen of these sets of third party triple bottom line reporting standards, all maintained by nonprofit and commercial entities based outside of Utah.  Several of these standards are available for benefit corporation use free of charge.  Benefit corporations are free to choose among available standards and must explain the reason for shifting from one standards to another.

Dustin Haggett, CEO of Utah’s new Impact Hub Salt Lake, thinks that the benefit corporation will help business go in the right direction and is enthusiastic of the form’s prospects.  The Hub is a social enterprise community innovating change through the stimulation of new solutions to social and environmental challenges.  Haggett believes that “under most legal forms, corporate directors in Utah are legally bound to maximize shareholder value, sometimes to the detriment of people and the environment.  S.B. 133 has the potential to transform our local and regional economy for the better.  It provides recognition to responsible business leaders and sets the bar for the rest.  This legislation will put Utah on the map as having a business community that is truly invested in our future.”

Part 2:  How this Helps Business Owners
Part 3:  Protection of Impact Investing

Steve Klass, P3 Utah Executive Director
Steve Klass, P3 Utah
Executive Director

Welcome to P3 Utah!


Bill Wilson, Treasurer, Dwelltek

Hi, my name is Bill Wilson, Chairperson for the P³ Utah Board of Directors.
 
Please join me in welcoming P³ Utah:  the first organization dedicated to advancing the triple bottom line business culture in the fine state of Utah.
 
Sustainable strategies give companies a competitive advantage. The business benefits are quantifiable and real.  The return on investment from improving company-wide sustainability initiatives make traditional investment opportunities seem trivial.
 
Business people don’t have to be converted to the green religion to reap these benefits. They can remain just who their shareholders expect them to be:  hard-nosed executives who evaluate everything on their bottom-line merits.
 
Many Utah-based companies have already seen the light and have embedded sustainability into their cultural DNA. Others are just getting started and wish to work with like-minded organizations to share best known practices and successes.
 
P³ Utah is the hub for Utah companies ready for the mindset shift. Through networking, training sessions, collaboration and sharing best practices, members of P³ Utah are well ahead in the race to the top!
 
So please join P³ Utah today and help set a  higher standard for Utah businesses for both today and the future! http://www.p3utah.org/membership/