Get to Know SAVe

Christina De Bono, SAVe
(Image credit: SAVe)

Sustainability in AV (SAVe) continues to make an effort to bring the Pro AV community together for a better and greener tomorrow. It is remarkable to think how much of an impact the organization has already made since becoming a nonprofit organization just a year ago.

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SAVe was conceived by Christina De Bono, owner of ClearTech AV in Altadena, CA. She founded the organization as a vehicle for the AV industry to do its part to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were endorsed and adopted by all 193 member states of the United Nations in 2015. There are 169 targets among the 17 SDGs set for 2030. Two goals, for example, focus on ending poverty and hunger; other goals include creating sustainable cities and communities, as well as providing affordable and clean energy.

Simply put, SAVe is the first industry-wide, U.S.-based organization to bring stakeholders in the Pro AV field together to take action to achieve those 17 SDGs. It officially became a functional 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in early 2022. But how can SAVe help?

Sustainable Development Goals

(Image credit: United Nations)

"The key word is action," explained De Bono. "Unless we take concerted, meaningful, measurable action to achieve sustainability, the future of our industry, businesses, communities, and planet will be imperiled. The status quo is not sustainable. From climate change and environmental degradation to poverty and inequality, the challenges we face are profound, diverse, and getting worse by the day. We must address them as nations, as individuals, and as businesses."

SAVe isn't simply an organization working with the Pro AV industry, it is part of the industry. This makes SAVe better positioned to advance some goals more than others. "At the same time, we recognize the utter interconnectedness of the SDGs and understand that the key to achieving any one of them is to achieve all of them," De Bono added.

Educate and Enable

So, what does SAVe do to help in achieving these lofty, yet imperative goals? Per De Bono, that answer can be made in two key areas.

First, SAVe educates. "Most members of our industry have never heard of the SDGs, much less acted on them," De Bono noted. "It’s imperative that people come to understand the 2030 SDGs because they provide a blueprint for action. Many people in our industry understand that the planet is imperiled, and they have a vague understanding of what sustainability means. But very few have any conception of what they, and the companies they run or work for, can do to meaningfully advance sustainability.

"Consequently, we are in the process of creating a robust library of information resources, including educational modules whose topics range from the history of the SDGs to specific issues such as the proliferation of electronic waste [e-waste]. These resources are available to the public, and the classes are used specifically for volunteer training and SAVe Certification."

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SAVe also enables action. De Bono mapped out two principal programs that the organization has created for members of the Pro AV industry: SAVe Certification and SAVe: A Second Life.

“The key word is ‘action.’ Unless we take concerted, meaningful, measurable action to achieve sustainability, the future of our industry, businesses, communities, and planet will be imperiled.”

Christina De Bono, SAVe

SAVe Certification was created specifically for members of the AV industry. The three-part, SAVe-led workshop helps organizations identify ways to advance the SDGs while developing means to act on them at the same time. Once SAVe Certified, a company can inform and educate others about its commitment to achieving the SDGs.

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"The goal is to give them the structure and tools to advance the SDGs meaningfully, measurably and—for lack of a better word—sustainably over time," De Bono added. "To achieve SAVe certification, organizations complete the workshops, create a sustainability program, and submit it to SAVe for review."

SAVe: A Second Life was developed in partnership with the Commission on Voluntary Service & Action (CVSA). "Together, SAVe and CVSA are working to create a network that facilitates the reuse of AV equipment and peripherals," explained De Bono. "When reuse is not an option, SAVe: A Second Life will assist equipment manufacturers, resellers, and owners in responsible recycling and disposal of equipment so as to minimize the environmental impact of e-waste."

Partnering for a Better Tomorrow

As with any lofty initiative, SAVe can't achieve the SDGs by itself. "SAVe will work with any organization that shares our objective," said De Bono.

To date, SAVe has established formal partnerships with four organizations, including the CVSA. "The CVSA is an all-volunteer coordinating and consultative body of non-government volunteer service organizations founded in 1945 to promote, expand, and strengthen voluntary service programs that serve people in need," explained De Bono. "[CVSA] provides a model for the kind of grassroots organizing that will maximize the effectiveness of SAVe, while ensuring its independence from forces that may try to coopt it."

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The Western Service Workers Association (WSWA) is a free and voluntary membership association built by and for low-income service, domestic, in-home care, part-time, and temporary works since 1975. "Though WSWA and SAVe are distinctly different organizations," De Bono explained, "they share a commitment to advancing the SDGs—and are both grounded in an organizational model that mobilizes individuals and businesses to achieve common goals while preserving their independence and autonomy."


ClearTech employees represent some of the 17 SDGs that SAVe is working to help the Pro AV industry achieve. (Image credit: SAVe)

The Higher Education Technology Managers Alliance (HETMA) is an advocacy organization focused on the higher education AV industry. HETMA represents 312 colleges and universities, raising awareness of technology issues and the needs and challenges higher education technology managers face. "HETMA members share SAVe’s commitment to advancing the SDGs, and provide an invaluable conduit for us to harness the power of higher education institutions to secure our future," said De Bono.

SAVe will also be part of the Impact Lounge at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), one of the largest global Pro AV and systems integration shows, in Barcelona in 2023. "As the SDGs are a global initiative, our partnership with ISE will be a force multiplier for SAVe," said De Bono.

Wayne Cavadi
Senior Content Manager

Wayne Cavadi is the senior content manager of Systems Contractor News. Prior to taking a leap into the Pro AV industry, Wayne was a journalist and content lead for Turner Sports, covering the NCAA, PGA, and Major and Minor League Baseball. His work has been featured in a variety of national publications including Bleacher Report, Lindy's Magazine, and The Advocate. When not writing, he hosts the DII Nation Podcast, committed to furthering the stories and careers of NCAA Division II student-athletes. Follow his work on Twitter at @WayneCavadi_2 or the SCN mag Twitter page.