Innovation at Bright Beat

Bright Beat

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

Bright Beat is a consulting business that is not only focused on environmental sustainability, but also social and economic sustainability. They work with events and businesses to responsibly manage waste, involve the community, and make their overall past practices more sustainable. Bright Beat was founded in 2010 and since then has been striving to create a greener world. Owner and founder Stephanie Katsaros has used her personal experience, world outlook, and general interest to embed sustainability in events and businesses from Allstate Arena to Electric Forest Festival, to the TBGreen program at Christopher B. Burke Engineering.

Bright Beat has been nationally recognized as a sustainable business, earning the US EPA’s Waste Wise Gold Achievement award. They also have countless local recognitions such as the Illinois Recycling Association: Educator of the Year and the Illinois Sustainability Award. Bright Beat is a truly sustainable company throughout and helps to push other facilities, businesses, and companies to be the best they can be (while also saving them money).


Authors

Fallon Kidwell

Fallon Kidwell

Emma Congdon

Emma Congdon

School

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

Professor

Nancy Landrum

Nancy Landrum

Innovation

Bright Beat is a company designed to help others (whether it be companies, individuals, nonprofits, or government) do things better. Addressing the “high level of waste and a low level of awareness,” that has irked Katasaros since her youth. Bright Beat aims to create an environment of community and sustainability.

Bright Beat shines by working at the highest level possible to ensure businesses, public organizations, non-profits, and more find solutions and strategies that are good for the environment, community, and bottom line. Bright Beat goes beyond finding solutions for the problem they recognize, to helping analyze how to do things better in an economically feasible way. They help businesses discover how much more efficient they can be in order to conserve money and resources. Helping companies strengthen procurement, figuring out what to buy, and how to reuse or recycle items when they no longer have a need for it is one of their strongest suits. The Bright Beat approach is a holistic one which sets them apart from other sustainability consulting companies that may offer just one of Bright Beat’s services:

  • Event Production
  • Full-Service Sustainability Programming
  • Marketing, Media and Promotions
  • Resource Management - Targeting Zero Waste
  • Communications Strategy and Content
  • Community and Social Impact
  • Corporate and Public-Private Partnerships
  • Education and Engagement

Innovation at Bright Beat

Inspiration

The inspiration for Bright Beat was born when Katsaros’s passion for the environment merged with her love of music. Ever since she was young, she loved attending music festivals and the entire sense of community surrounding them. With the mass number of people attending events similar to these, she recognized a huge need for waste management, inclusivity, and sustainability. Through her travels, she learned of different ways that festivals functioned, specifically the Fuji Rock festival in Japan. When in attendance there, she saw that they had the best and most efficient means to separate waste she had ever seen. She then thought, with the right program, you could get people to care more about sustainability on a large scale. “I realized if I could do anything I want to do, I’d want to help people I love working with to raise their standards… in this case... for responsible event production [and] responsible operations,” Katsaros said. She was also moved by international cultures and citizens more cognizant of the value of seemingly meaningless objects such as plastic bottles and she wanted to find a way to make people care about the little things.

Overall impact

Asking people to think about things they haven’t thought about is a tricky but necessary step that needs to be taken in order to reach any of the UN Sustainability Goals. Bright Beat helps raise the question of sustainability to all kinds of businesses, non-profits, organizations, etc. They also help poverty-stricken people make money, hungry people eat, unsustainable practices become healthier, and society save money. There is a fiscal value to the impact on the community that Bright Beat makes. Bright Beat has helped companies and events raise their standards on waste management which has set an example for more companies.

Bright Beat has helped many events achieve zero waste, including the Green Music Fest, FamilyFarmed Good Food EXPO, New Belgium Brewing Tour de Fat, and many more. At one time, a Grateful Dead reunion concert asked Bright Beat to help. Kastaros was inclined to say yes because of a personal connection she had to their music growing up. It seemed daunting, but with only a small handful of people, they managed to achieve a 49% landfill diversion rate (30% higher than Soldier Field's diversion average). Across the three most highly attended events and beer sales in Soldier Field's field history, Bright Beat diverted 100 tons of waste and increased Soldier Field’s annual diversion rate by 3%. This is just one example of the scale on which Bright Beat can operate and be successful.


Business benefit

Not only is there an ecological and social benefit to Bright Beat, but there is also an economic one. Bright Beat strives to not only increase sustainability but also reduce costs. When they worked on updating the waste management practices at Allstate Arena, they were able to upgrade the facility's waste management initiatives by implementing better recycling and composting. They were also able to save the company $27,000 in 3 years’ time. The goal of Bright Beat is to prove that sustainability does not have to mean more expensive. Given the correct circumstances, it can actually increase profits and benefit humanity and the earth. Bright Beat strives to “help organizations make good decisions” and also save them money, making it the logical answer to fight climate change.

Social and environmental benefit

Economic Benefits

There is a fiscal impact to helping all members of society eat, be healthy, get educated. It saves money. Kastaros mentioned that, in her experience, companies can have a hard time reacting positively to ‘saving money.’ Rather, companies follow more of a ‘making money’ model. In order for Bright Beat to be successful, they help companies realize they can save money as well as make it.


Social Benefits:

Bright Beat respects and empowers the staff that their clients hire and help them maximize sustainable operations. They help workers get second chances through transitional employment. Bright Beat strengthens and promotes a diverse and vibrant community through its mission, hiring practices, and goals.


Environmental Benefits:

The work they do helps create zero waste at many big events like music festivals, concerts, conventions, and more. The popularity of events like these draw masses that create an enormous amount of waste and Bright Beat aims to dispose of it the right way, the sustainable way, inspiring more environmentally-friendly practices in the process.


Interview

Stephanie Katsaros, Founder

Photo of interviewee

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Bright Beat

Bright Beat

Chicago, Illinois, US

Business Website: https://brightbeat.com/

Year Founded: 2010

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

Bright Beat is a consulting business that is not only focused on environmental sustainability, but also social and economic sustainability. They work with events and businesses to responsibly manage waste, involve the community, and make their overall past practices more sustainable.