Our environment is in crisis – from animal and plant species at risk of extinction to plastics that may never decompose. So taking action on sustainability efforts is more critical than it’s ever been. That’s why we’re committed to sustainable business practices and we encouraged our people to examine their individual impact as well during Sustainability Week.
OUR APPROACH TO SUSTAINABILITY
Our approach to sustainability is embedded in who we are, how we think, and who we do business with. We believe that treating people and the planet well inspires a cycle of positive change and drives sustainable business. That’s why we’re committed to triple-bottom-line standards of people, planet, and profit.
This drives our purpose and our company culture. We have several programs and practices in place to keep us accountable to our sustainability goals. But it goes deeper than just programs. A culture of sustainability drives everyday decision-making from big things like how we position ourselves and who we work with, to smaller things like where we purchase our pens and how we dispose of our waste.
OUR 2018 IMPACT & IMPROVEMENT GOALS
We’ve focused our sustainability efforts around the B Corp movement of “business as a force for good.” People want to work for, buy from, and invest in businesses they believe in. For us, B Corp certification is the best way to build trust, establish credibility, and demonstrate our value. The B Impact Assessment has helped us put an evolving framework in place for measuring what matters – our governance ethics, how we treat our people, our environmental impact, how we’re making a change in our community, and who we work with. We’ve worked hard over the past five years to monitor and measure our impact and are pleased to have a reporting framework to keep us accountable.
So what are our environmental impact goals?
1. Reduce the impact of carbon emissions and transportation through remote working options and encourage alternative transportation.
- Approximately 95% of our business is carried out over the phone, and via online communication methods, both with customers and internally between offices and remote staff.
- Our in-house staff work from home on average 1-2 times per month, and we offer the opportunity for remote staff to work from home 100% of the time.
- 7% of our staff were full-time remote workers.
- 77% of our people commuted to work by public transport (making use of their company-provided EcoPass), biking, walking, or carpooling.
- Increase the number of our people using alternative transportation to 80%.
- Maintain work-from-home and remote staffing models.
2. Minimize our waste generation and ensure at least 80% of our office waste is diverted from landfills.
- We produced ~500 lbs of waste in the office.
- Roughly 90% of that was diverted from landfills.
- Maintain a 90% diversion rate.
- Decrease total amount of waste by 10%.
- Ensure office snacks and supplies are purchased from eco-friendly vendors, switching to bulk and local items where possible.
3. Be efficient with our electricity usage
- Electricity usage ~49,000 KwH
- Reduce electricity usage by at least 10%.
4. Reduce the amount of paper used and look for ways to go paperless.
- We went through 9,910 pieces of paper through copies and printing, which is the equivalent of 1.25 trees.
- Three departments came up with solutions to go fully paperless, not only reducing our paper usage, but enhancing our internal communication and efficiency.
- We purchased copy and printer paper containing 30% post-consumer recycled content.
- Reduce paper copying and printing by 10%.
- Switch to paper that contains 100% post-consumer recycled content.
5. Purchase at least 50% of our services and products locally (within 100 miles of the company facilities) to reduce transportation carbon and to support local vendors.
- 67% of our purchases came from local sources.
- We developed a local purchasing policy with approved vendors.
- Ensure 70% of our purchasing is from local vendors.
- Complete a full supply audit to ensure we are purchasing from companies and individuals who share our commitment to sustainability.
SUSTAINABILITY WEEK IMPACT
Our sustainability efforts focus on education and engaging with our people to help reduce their individual impact. We’ve put a number of educational programs in place to reduce our impact, including specific training for all new starters and ongoing training for all staff. This year we hosted our 2nd Sustainability Week as a means of raising awareness and actively practicing sustainability tips of the week, and our London office joined in as well.
- Meatless Monday: We hosted a meatless potluck fundraiser in the office since animal food production is one of the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and land erosion. We discussed the importance of knowing where our meat and dairy comes from so we know the producer has sustainable practices in place to reduce the impact. We raised $130 to purchase about 8 metric tonnes of carbon offsets.
- Turn-It-Off Tuesday: We challenged our people to work with the lights off all day and sent around guidelines on how to adjust computer power settings for ultimate energy efficiency.
- Waste-Free Wednesday: We took away all the trash cans in the office and only had a small container serve as the landfill receptacle for the day. We provided information on the impact of single-use plastics and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We produced only 0.34 lbs of landfill trash on Waste-Free Wednesday. Not entirely waste free, but pretty good for the number of people we have in our office.
- Thoughtful Thursday: We challenged people to calculate their own carbon footprint and then set individual goals for reducing their impact. 50% of our office participated and on average, we would need 3 Earths if everyone lived as we do as a group. Our people came up with thoughtful goals to address their impact, such as going meatless once a week, reducing or eliminating single-use plastics, buying more local produce or bulk items, and bicycling more or using public transport.
- Freshen-Up Friday: We ended our week by hosting a cleanup event in Civic Center Park. Fifteen people picked up 2.5 lbs of trash and 0.64 lbs of recyclable materials (more than the amount of waste we generated on Waste-free Wednesday). Fun treasure finds: bungee cord, wire hanger, book of matches, an S hook, a bicycle reflector, Easter grass, an alarmingly high number of cigarette butts, and used gum. We ended the week with a raffle for some eco-friendly products.
SUSTAINABILITY WEEK IDEAS
How can you reduce your individual and your company’s impact?
- Calculate your own carbon footprint so you’re aware of your impact.
- Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. More resources are used to provide meat than plants.
- Swap single-use plastics out for sustainable alternatives: reusable snack bags, produce bags, grocery bags, utensils, straws, napkins, coffee cups, water bottles, etc.
- Purchase from local people and in bulk where possible. Supporting neighborhood businesses keeps people employed and helps prevent trucks from driving far distances.
- Take public transportation, bike or walk more, carpool, or invest in an energy-efficient car.
- Buy only what you need and shop at thrift stores where possible.
- Switch to online banking so you don’t receive paper statements.
- Ask for email receipts instead of printed ones.
- Take the B Impact Assessment to evaluate your current impact.
- Remove individual trash cans in the office and have one area for waste that encourages people to learn how to sort their waste.
- Make specific signs on what to recycle, compost, or throw away.
- Provide training to all workers on environmental issues and how to reduce their impact.
- Organize your own Sustainability Week at work to mobilize your people.
- Purchase from local people and in bulk where possible.
- Provide reusable plates, utensils, and glassware.
- Change computer settings to be more energy efficient and change the printing setting default to print two sided and black and white.
- Go paperless.