Blog


Throughout the year New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility collects "Just One Thing" stories of sustainability initiatives from across the state, in the areas of community, environment and workplace. These leading efforts are then showcased as part of NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. Last year W.S. Badger won NHBSR's 2017 Sustainability Slam for its invaluable contributions to New Hampshire communities.


unnamed-1_1.jpg

(Photo Credit 1 & 2: W.S. Badger)

W.S. Badger in Gilsum, NH is a small, family-owned and operated company that uses only the highest quality ingredients in its organic and all-natural skin care and body care products. With a strong commitment to our environment, Badger upholds a rigorous standard for any natural ingredients it sources, ensuring that its supply chain supports healthy agriculture, is minimally processed, and promotes sustainability. Badger also strongly invests in its community. Last year it donated 10% of before-tax profits to organizations that benefit people and the planet. Furthermore, the company encourages employees to volunteer through its paid community service program.unnamed-2_1.jpg

Badger's winning Just One Thing story at NHBSR's Sustainability Slam detailed the company's efforts to address recovery and substance abuse in the workplace. Businesses are able to change people's thinking, vocabulary, and approach to coworkers and colleagues around issues of substance abuse and recovery. Last year Badger worked closely with a trained advocate in the field of addiction and recovery to offer training that helped employees better understand ways they might help a colleague, friend, or family member struggling with addiction.

By creating a welcoming and supporting environment for employees struggling with substance abuse in their lives, whether their own or that of a loved one, Badger helps destigmatize the issue and encourages employees to seek resources and support services. From day one, this work environment and support network is made available to anyone at Badger. An internal point person and the Human Resources team are all committed to supporting employees through the recovery process.

"We believe," says Dee Fitzgerald, Marketing & PR Manager at Badger, "That the same person who drove to work is the same person walking into the building. Often, people are expected to leave their private life at the door when walking into work, but we know this isn't possible, and we don't want our employees to do this. We want to be able to be a source of support for them."

unnamed_2.jpg

And, as far as results, the response to this initiative has been great. Everyone in the company went through training introducing the concepts and approaches to helping provide recovery support. Badger hopes to be a model that other companies may look to in creating workplaces that best serve the needs of their employees, which, as Badger understands, has an important impact on the greater community as a whole.

You can hear more stories like W.S Badger's on important initiatives throughout the state by attending NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. "I love that the people presenting at the Slam are the same people who are implementing or helping to implement the programs they're sharing," Says Dee, "The Slam format is so unique and different, it's a fabulous and validating way to bring people together to not only meet, mingle, and network, but to share inspirational stories. And there are so many great stories occurring in New Hampshire. People often discount what they're doing internally and thinking that it's the same as everyone else, but each approach is truly unique and has a positive result worth sharing."

 

Bernadette Gleeson leads Badger employees in a training on addressing addiction issues at work

(Photo Credit: Paige Sutherland/NHPR)

 

Connect with Dee at our Sustainability Slam on Nov 1 at Labelle Winery in Amherst, NH or email her at deef@badgerbalm.com! Any company or nonprofit is welcomed to attend the Sustainability Slam and submit a Just One Thing story. Top submissions will be featured in the NH Business Review and presented at the Slam. This year's Sustainability Slam presenting sponsor is Velcro.

**Stories submitted by September 21 get entered into a drawing for free Sustainabilty Slam tickets and those submitted by Septeber 14 get entered in twice!

large_vidbadger.png

Watch Badger's winning Just One Thing story video here.

logo_0.png

Submit your Just One Thing story here.

heidi_page_0.jpg(Photo Credit 1, 2, 3: Heidi Page)

MEMBER FEATURE: a conversation with Elaine Hamel, Program Director and Founder of Girls At Work, Inc.

Empowering girls uplifts communities and that is precisely what Girls At Work aims to accomplish in Manchester, NH. 27 years ago, the nonprofit's founder, Elaine Hamel, took in a 10-year-old neighbor whose parents were struggling with addiction. Wanting to provide this girl every opportunity she could, Elaine offered her skills as a general contractor in exchange for summer camp enrollment. Instead of building for the camp itself, however, the camp director asked Elaine to come in and teach the girls how to build. The building classes caught on like wildfire and soon enough Elaine was traveling to camps across the state teaching girls how to use power tools. Continuing to work out of the back of her pick-up truck no longer became feasible, though, and in 1999 Elaine built a barn on her property in Goffstown, NH to serve as a workshop for Girls At Work, her newly incorporated nonprofit (registered officially in 2001).

unnamed-2_0.jpgIn 2014 Girls At Work expanded into an old school building in Manchester's South End, where they now offer four 8-week afterschool sessions to struggling inner city girls per year and four weeks of Summer Camp, both designed to build up each little girl to be her strongest most capable self.

So, what kind of difference does Girls At Work make for the thousands of girls who have gone through the program? "I've had parents come to me in tears sharing how much Girls At Work has helped their daughters," Elaine answers, "Girls At Work is an absolute game changer. So many girls are just discouraged and don't want to go to school because of bullying. In a culture that so often disempowers girls and women, we have the opportunity to build their self-confidence and empower them. It's completely life changing." Through developing critical thinking skills, applying math in engaging and hands on ways, and giving girls the opportunity to work together to solve difficult challenges, Girls At Work's programming provides participants with the real life experience of feeling empowered and accomplished.

Supported primarily through fundraisers, partnerships and donations, Girls At Work is also able to fund the afterschool programs and camps through 

unnamed_1.jpg

team building programs offered to companies throughout New England. In these programs companies enroll up to 50 employees to work in small groups at the shop, or onsite at their company, to build picnic tables. No experience at all is required and the precut lumber and limited instruction provide an environment for employees to dig deep within, while connecting with others on a challenging task. The finished tables are then donated to nonprofits in the area of the build. These team building programs create an awareness of the importance of empowering girls, as well as a deeper understanding as to why we all need to step up for these girls. This program also offers businesses a unique way to engage their employees in a team building activity that promotes cooperation, creative thinking, and an empowering sense of accomplishment.

Girls At Work is excited to be a part of NHBSR and is inspired to create new partnerships with businesses dedicated to social responsibility. These partnerships will provide an exciting opportunity to build a stronger future for our young girls, while spreading the word about the importance of Girls At Work’s mission. "Businesses are always excited to learn about how we are  empowering our inner-city girls and even more excited to know that they can join forces with us to have a stronger impact,” says Elaine.   

Given our current climate with bullying, it is extremely important that organizations have a strong focus on empowerment, especially in the case of young girls. Girls at Work is proud to provide a safe and supportive environment where young girls are encouraged to  discover and fully engage their power not only in the shop, but in all areas of life.

trayce_gregoire.jpg

(Photo Credit: Trayce Gregoire)

You can contact Elaine at elaine@girlswork.org to find out more about Girls At Work and their opportunities for empowering girls and women in the Granite State.

 

38831004_1806562802768217_8372870479618244608_n_0.jpg

(Photo Credits: Stonyfield)


Learn about Leading MWM NH Company Stonyfield's Commitment to Sustainability and the Value of Impact Assessments


Measure What Matters New Hampshire offers a clear and practical assessment tool NH businesses can use to benchmark their sustainability initiatives. This new program additionally offers members of the NHBSR community the opportunity to work with trained UNH student consultants to better develop their own sustainability programs. MWM NH participants will also have access to a members only Sustainable Resource Network and an accompanying series of specially tailored workshops.

 

Stonyfield's origins lie in a New Hampshire nonprofit farming school that was established to teach sustainable farming with a strong ethos of caring for the earth. The organic yogurt that Stonyfield is now famous for was actually just a byproduct of that initial mission. Now Stonyfield's products, made without the use of artificial hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, and toxic persistent pesticides, are sold across the country. Stonyfield continues to pursue its mission of being a leading environmental steward, all while supporting hundreds of family farms and providing healthy food that nourishes our communities.

In 2016 Stonyfield completed the full B-Impact Assessment and became a certified B Corps company, a designation earned by companies that meet a high standard for social and environmental performance. Through completion of the B-Impact assessment, Stonyfield was able to evaluate and gain deeper insight into its own corporate governance management, human resource practices, community and supply chain impacts and environmental practices.

"What has been most valuable for us in the assessment," says Lisa Drake, Director of Sustainability Innovation at Stonyfield, "is the validation from a third party standard evaluate where we are on sustainability, showing us that we can feel good about our business practices. We've gone through a lot of growth and change in the last few years and it's reassuring for our employees and our consumers to know we're on the right track." 

Any business, large or small, can take the Quick Impact or B-Impact Assessment. In the longer B-Impact Assessment questions are targeted to a company's size and type, whether in the production, manufacturing, or service industry. "Companies can really learn from the process of taking the assessment, seeing where they need to improve, and understanding the specifics of where they are doing really well. This clarification helps companies plan more effective improvement strategies."

Stonyfield will be involved in the Measure What Matters New Hampshire workshop series and Sustainable Resource Network, which will offer opportunities for other New Hampshire companies to connect with, learn from, and find inspiration in Stonyfield's commitment to our planet and communities.

Connect with Lisa at our Sustainability Slam on Nov 1 in Amherst or reach out to her by email at lisa.drake@stonyfield.com

 

screen_shot_2018-08-16_at_1.12.17_pm.png

By Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President and CEO of Earth Friendly Products/ECOS

A company's culture isn’t defined merely by ping-pong tables and free lunches; employees want to feel like part of something bigger. That sense of community and fulfillment benefits employers, too; by one estimation (PDF), disengaged workers cause losses of close to $500 billion every year.

Happy employees are engaged, which depends partly on sustainable practices at work. When a company trades silence and waste for open communication and sustainability, employees respond positively. For instance, after implementing sustainable programs and zero-waste practices last year at our company, Earth Friendly Products, we saw an 18 percent decrease in health insurance premiums and a 30 percent drop in employee sick leave.

When you drive awareness and excitement through your team, aim to articulate goals and how you plan to measure success. This way, employees can discern the effects of their decisions. For instance, we encourage employees to embrace sustainability through incentives. Those who move closer to work, drive eco-friendly cars, or install solar panels earn financial incentives and points redeemable for rewards. Beyond zero-waste goals, we sponsor "health-friendly days" in 2010 to speak to employees about how to live healthier lifestyles, including advice on eating habits and exercise.

The following four areas can help to achieve employee buy-in for sustainability efforts in your office:

1. PERSISTENCE

Any habit change requires time to stick. Employees might resist an initiative at first, but continue to insist on sustainable practices and they will eventually view, say, a zero-waste mindset as second nature. What feels like extra work at first becomes a regular business process.

In our internal marketing campaigns, we provide short bits of information on healthy eating and sustainability practices so people can learn during their downtime. Keep it light so employees don’t feel lectured; after all, brains can only process a limited amount of information at once.

Keep up a steady stream of passive, consistent information to bring employees around to the reality of sustainable business practices. Eventually, they will begin to give back on their own. For example, one of our employees suggested we switch to reusable hairnets, which now allows us to reuse and recycle equipment that used to go in the trash. 

2. OWNERSHIP

Instill a sustainable mindset by providing incentives and encouragement. Make employees feel they aren’t forced to participate, but that they are driving the initiative. 

"When you build a culture where people can be their authentic selves, they’re going to bring their best work, their best ideas, and their best people to your company," said Ciara Trinidad, head of diversity, inclusion and belonging at Blend, a digital lending company. Research backs her up; Harvard Business Review reports that employees who personalize their work areas feel more satisfied and able to contribute.

To illuminate the benefits of sustainability, encourage your team to implement such practices at work and at home. For instance, our company’s "Sustainability Passport" allows team members to earn points, redeemable for fun activities or perks at work. To earn points, an employee can carpool, install solar panels at home or move closer to the office. In turn, our work culture has become more enjoyable and collaborative. When employees see the connection between their personal efforts and broader changes, they're more likely to feel positive about their role in a work-driven initiative.

3. REUSING AND RECYCLING

We encourage employees to bring unused items from home — such as appliances, clothing or shoes — several times per year to share with one another. This helps to limit waste at home while helping others.

Workers, especially younger ones, say they appreciate perks such as these. They notice when companies install recycling receptacles in shared office spaces and feel good about the environmental impact. To that end, we brought in a guest speaker last year to share simple strategies for limiting environmental footprints. 

Additionally, be sure every element of your company — from manufacturing to customer service — finds ways to be sustainable. Audit certain points of production to discern where energy could be reduced or more efficient workflows implemented. We use 100 percent renewable energy, for example, much of it from our own solar panels.

4. ONGOING MESSAGE

The effort to inform and involve employees must be continuous to remain effective. Understand your audience and build a relationship through organic conversations.

Don’t lower standards to make goals easier to reach. Instead, install smaller objectives on the road to bigger ones, and show that leaders are pursuing the same goals. This focus naturally creates environmental advocates in the office who become brand ambassadors for sustainability and bring others on board. For example, when one of our leaders suggested that an employee replace her old coffee mug, the employee declined, because throwing it out would create unnecessary waste.

Continue to demonstrate to employees that the company cares about both the environment and their personal well-being to create a contagious, positive experience. The more you encourage sustainability, the more employees will make it a personal goal.

Originally posted on GreenBiz


Throughout the year New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility collects "Just One Thing" stories of sustainability initiatives from across the state, in the areas of community, environment and workplace. These leading efforts are then showcased as part of NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. Last year Monadnock Paper Mills won NHBSR's 2017 Sustainability Slam for its invaluable contributions to New Hampshire communities.


monadnock_kona_boxes.jpg

In 2019 Monadnock Paper Mills in Bennington, NH will celebrate 200 years in the paper making industry. At the forefront of sustainable packaging and paper products, Monadnock values incorporating materials from alternative, sustainable fibers and post-consumer sources. In 2017 the paper mill saw an opportunity to reuse some of the 25 million imported burlap coffee bean bags that would, with no intervention, eventually end up as approximately 55 million pounds of natural fiber in the waste stream. That year Monadnock launched its Kona line of products, using shredded coffee bags to create fibers to add to paper. The Kona line now features paper for boxes, tags, and labels in an array of beautiful natural colors that are sought out by sustainability focused brands. This successful closed loop packaging story proves just how much environmentally conscious businesses can thrive in creative and impactful ways, doing well for themselves and our planet.

You can learn more about the Kona product line and other great sustainability initiatives throughout the state by attending NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. "It's fun. It's energetic. And it's competitive, with people getting more and more creative and out of the box in their presentations," described Lisa Berghaus, Director of Marketing Communications at Monadnock, when asked about NHBSR's Sustainability Slam. "For me, it was a little self-deprecating! I wore a coffee bean bag during my presentation. But the audience at NHBSR's Sustainability Slam is the best. They're friendly and supportive and as long as you're passionate about the work you're doing to improve New Hampshire, whether it is in feeding people, improving the environment, or making things better for employees, you can do no wrong!"

Connect with Lisa at our Sustainability Slam on Nov 1 in Amherst or reach out to her by email at lberghaus@mpm.com!!

large_vidmonadnock_0.png

Watch Monadnock's winning Just One Thing story video here.

just_one_thing_003ae_0.png

Submit your Just One Thing story here.


Throughout the year New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility collects "Just One Thing" stories of sustainability initiatives from across the state, in the areas of community, environment and workplace. These leading efforts are then showcased as part of NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. Last year Jewett Construction won NHBSR's 2017 Sustainability Slam for its invaluable contributions to New Hampshire communities.


picture1_2.png

[The Monarch School in Rochester, NH serves children with special intellectual, physical, and behavioral needs]

For nearly 50 years, Jewett Construction has had a strong commitment to community engagement and supporting nonprofits. One of Jewett’s first nonprofit capital projects was for the Boy Scouts of America to construct the Camp Carpenter dining hall in Manchester, NH. Since then Jewett Construction has played a pivotal role in ensuring nonprofits across New England are able to build the facilities they need to run their programs and services, including the YMCA in Exeter, NH, the Monarch School of New England in Rochester, NH and the Center for Wildlife in York, Maine.

In supporting nonprofit projects along varied stages of their expansion, from their capital campaigns to leveraging community partnerships and resources to the final phases of construction, Jewett is able to create a positive and, ultimately, very successful building experience for nonprofits. Jewett is particularly experienced in finding creative and inexpensive ways to make large scale construction projects feasible to cash-strapped nonprofits, enlisting vendors, subcontractors, architects and engineers willing to offer in kind donations or materials at costs.

There is a risk in being involved in such lengthy projects with so many moving parts and pieces, but Jewett Construction remains steadfastly committed to supporting nonprofits and the crucial community services they provide. Ever mindful of the impact Jewett has in its communities and the world, the construction company is also particularly attentive to building using environmentally friendly techniques, such as incorporating recycled materials, solar panels and natural skylight features and elements.

Learn more about Jewett Constructions' winning Just One Thing story and the work of other leading business in the state by attending NHBSR's Sustainability Slam on November 1 in Amherst, NH. "The Sustainability Slam is a great learning experience." Eric Cimon, Marketing Directors of Jewett Construction, enthused, "You will take away something your company can apply in your own work and connect with other great businesses in the state. It helped us highlight the work that we do with nonprofits, work that a lot of people didn't realize we had a commitment to. And it's just a really great creative platform. I don't know of any similar presentation platform out there that is as effective at showcasing a company's sustainability work. We got a lot of exposure by participating and it opened up a number of doors to additional projects."

Connect with Eric at our Sustainability Slam on Nov 1 in Amherst or reach out to him by email at ecimon@jewettconstruction.com!!

large_vidjewett_0.png

Watch Jewett's winning Just One Thing story video here.

just_one_thing_003ae.png

Submit your Just One Thing story here.

earth_day_0.jpg

MEMBER FEATURE: a conversation with Kristen Lamb, Executive Director of the Center for Wildlife, and Emma Balina, Development Director of the Center for Wildlife

The Center for Wildlife provides a thriving hub for environmental stewardship, education, and advocacy in New England.

image3.jpg

The Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, Maine started out in 1986 as a shelter for injured and orphaned wild animals. The center received about 100 wild animals a week in its first year and provided clinical care for many of these animals with successful rehabilitation back into their natural habitats. In 1991 the Center for Wildlife started to take preventative measures and launched a public education program as staff recognized that the majority of animals they received were arriving to them with diseases and injuries caused by humans.

Now the center treats 190 species of local birds, small mammals, and reptiles, approximately 2,200 wild animals a year, coming from Maine to Massachusetts and spanning a 100-mile radius out from Cape Neddick, Maine. It offers 350 education programs serving learners aged 2 to 92 with the hopes that greater environmental education and knowledge about what people can do and why they should care will inspire greater stewardship of our natural world. The center also offers numerous community volunteer and internship opportunities for those wishing to learn more and be more involved.

release2.jpg"And for interns and staff at the Center for Wildlife," says Kristen Lamb, Executive Director of the Center for Wildlife, "we are very committed to wellness. Burnout and compassion fatigue is common in our line of work, so it's important for us to really take care of our employees with competitive benefits packages and by fostering a positive work culture." The center also regularly brings in guest speakers on interesting topics like local herbalism and offers employees membership to a local museum or park of their choosing.

Operating out of just a 1,200 square foot house, the Center for Wildlife provides an impressive array of programs, services, and learning opportunities to visitors and employees alike. But with the pressure of rapid growth and development in the region, the center is investing in a capital campaign so that it will be able respond to the exponentially increasing need for its services and programs due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Slated to be completed in 2019, their new campus will link up 16,000 acres of conservation land and include a facility that runs completely on solar power. The layout will take into consideration 

img_15781.jpg

the natural slope of the land and include pollinator gardens, vernal pools, and rain water collection landscaping. Everything from the downward facing LED lights to decrease light pollution and its effects on wildlife will be built keeping the natural world in mind.

"We joined NHBSR," remarks Kristen, "Because we want to be a part of the conversation in leading the charge in environmental sustainability. We're a nonprofit, boots on the ground organization, and we want to find ways to collaborate and share resources and knowledge to be able to have a greater overall community impact." There are a number of projects that the center has been able to undertake because of partnerships with like-minded businesses, including the capital campaign, which is a partnership with NHBSR member company Jewett Construction.

"We want people to know that we're here," says Emma Balina, Development Director of the Center for Wildlife, "We love that people visit us and bring their families. There are so many ways for people to get involved, from individuals to businesses, and we really want to foster and promote those meaningful partnerships."

cfw_extentrance_draft_16-11-22.jpg

Concept art for the Center for Wildlife's new campus coming in 2019

You can reach out to Emma at emma@thecenterforwildlife.org or (207) 361-1400 x107 to find out more about the Center for Wildlife and their capital campaign, sustainability efforts, and education programs.

gaia_2.jpg


Throughout the year New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility collects "Just One Thing" stories of sustainability initiatives from across the state, in the areas of community, environment and workplace. These leading efforts are then showcased as part of NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. Last year the Hanover Co-op Food Stores' Pennies for Change program won NHBSR's 2017 Sustainability Slam for its incredible contributions to New Hampshire communities.


coins-912719_960_720.jpg

Pennies for Change is a round-up program where members and shoppers at the Hanover Co-op Food Stores (Hanover and Lebanon, and White River Junction, Vermont) can add to the total amount of their purchases up to the next whole dollar. The Co-op then donates 100% of the extra money collected each month to local nonprofits. On average, Pennies for Change raises around a quarter million dollars each year (approximately $20,000 a month) towards helping feed the hungry and support other vital community needs.**

Because of Pennies for Change, local nonprofits which generally work under very tight budgets to meet ever-increasing demands are able to actually grow their programs and services. For example: 

  • Willing Hands collects and redistributes surplus food from the Hanover Co-op, farms, bakeries, and other stores to people in need. Pennies for Change donations financed both a new truck and increased staffing for Willing Hands to expand its services, allowing it to serve more hungry neighbors.
  • Upper Valley Haven offers another example of the Co-op's high community impact. This nonprofit, which provides housing, food and counseling services to families and individuals experiencing poverty, used Pennies for Change donations to redesign their Food Shelf so that their clients had more freedom and choice in food options.
  • Furthermore, LISTEN out of Lebanon, New Hampshire added Saturday meals to their weekly community dinner calendar, serving and additional 5,000 meals per year. A host of 25 other rotating nonprofits were similarly able to increase the impact and reach of their work because of Pennies for Change.

You can learn more about Pennies for Change and other great sustainability initiatives throughout the state by attending NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. Allan Reetz, Director of Public Relations at the Hanover Co-op Food Stores said, "NHBSR's Sustainability Slam was well-worth the nearly four-hour roundtrip it took me to attend. I got to see firsthand the range of work being done by sharp New Hampshire business people. Learning from and collaborating with socially responsible leaders is good for our cooperative. Plus, attending the Slam is another easy way I commit to being an active member of the NHBSR network."

Connect with Allan at our Sustainability Slam on Nov 1 in Amherst or reach out to him by email at AReetz@coopfoodstore.com!!

**By encouraging rounding up on electronic payment transactions, the Hanover Co-op Food Stores is able to dramatically increase the amount of funds they can donate to community projects.

large_vidhanover_2_0.png

Watch Hanover's winning Just One Thing story video here.

 

just_one_thing_003ae.png

Submit your Just One Thing story here.

By Pamela Gordon, Senior Consultant and TFI Antea Group Collaboration Leader

From attracting new investors and meeting evolving consumer expectations to gaining a competitive advantage through innovation, there’s little doubt that embedding sustainability within your company’s overall strategy offers a wealth of business benefits—all while making the world a better place. In fact, in its “The Business Case for Eco-Innovation” publication, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported that companies with a focus on eco-innovation are growing at an average rate of 15% annually. 

But despite your best intentions to design, implement, and track sustainability programs that are highly effective, the question is: Are your sustainability initiatives really living up to their full business potential? 

Since adding sustainability consulting to our breadth of services, Antea Group has partnered with executives and sustainability leaders at companies across an array of industries to help them uncover sustainability risks and opportunities—all with the goal of helping them achieve maximum sustainability ROI.   

As a result of our work, some common opportunities for improvement have emerged. In this piece, we talk with Pamela Gordon, Senior Consultant and TFI-Antea Group Collaboration Leader, about three of those opportunities. With two decades of coaching and sustainability consulting under her belt, Gordon offers interesting insight and examples that your organization can leverage to drive business performance and sustainability success. 

OPPORTUNITY 1: RECOGNIZING INTERNAL BLIND SPOTS 
Even if your company has made its commitment to sustainability known by baking it into the overall business strategy and company culture, you aren’t immune to internal blind spots. To illustrate this point, Gordon shares a real-life example: 

Years ago, I visited the headquarters of a large electronics company. I was already impressed with their operation when we visited the cafeteria. The cafeteria deeply reflected their sustainability model—there were no one-use implements and food waste was being composted. It was impressive. 

But about a year later, I visited that company again and that was no longer the case. There were plastic utensils, one-use plates, plastic packaging, and the trash was overflowing. Of course, I asked the sustainability champion at the company: “What happened?” 

While they thought their sustainability initiatives were comprehensive, when an opportunity came to change vendors, someone in procurement made what they thought was a sensible, cost-effective change. The problem? Sustainability principles were not part of the selection criteria—not to mention the fact that the company was already saving money with greener practices.

As you can see, internal blind spots can disrupt your sustainability initiatives. As a result, you need to make sure you’re drawing the internal circle wide enough to help ensure success. 

OPPORTUNITY 2: LOOKING BEYOND COMPANY WALLS 
While there are many forward-thinking companies that are pushing beyond their organizational boundaries to optimize value chains and enhance product stewardship, this is still an unrealized opportunity for most businesses. Why? Because many are narrowly focused on the sustainability aspects within their facilities alone, according to Gordon. 

“From raw materials to distribution to what happens after use, in order to get the most ROI out of your sustainability initiatives, you have to look at the bigger picture—and that means enabling your suppliers and your customers to contribute and share in the benefits,” she says. 

While it may be tempting to say that you can’t control your suppliers or your customers, from our perspective that’s far from the truth. You hold power and influence over your suppliers with the contracts you hold. As for your customers, you can offer them a benefit they didn’t have before by designing products with the entire lifecycle in mind. 

OPPORTUNITY 3: CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE SUSTAINABILITY ROADMAP 
Sustainability programs certainly require an investment of time, resources, and budget. But like any investment, the strategy needs to include measurable short-term and long-term goals, as well as the right key performance indicators (KPIs) and tactics that will guide your path. 

Of course, the common question for many is: “Where do I start?” Here’s what Gordon had to say on the subject: 

Through our sustainability leadership consulting work, we coach executives to develop long-term high-sustainability roadmaps that include both monetary elements (i.e. cost savings and new revenues) as well as environmental metrics (i.e., reducing unnecessary use of materials, energy, water, and transportation).  

This begins with conducting a materiality assessment to uncover what has the best immediate and future potential for environmental and business gains. From there, these opportunities are vetted and plotted across the roadmap, which then serves as a measurement and benchmarking tool and as a guide. 

While developing your roadmap will absolutely require time, effort, and resources—it’s a necessary investment to help ensure your business goals and sustainability initiatives are working together in harmony to drive shared value.  

If you don’t have the internal resources or expertise, consider partnering with a sustainability consulting firm. A firm’s team of consultants offer broad-based knowledge and expertise, as well as objectivity that can help uncover opportunities or risks that you may have missed. 

DRIVE SUSTAINABILITY ROI 
As the realities of climate change reveal themselves more and more each day, it’s time to dig deep to determine whether your sustainability initiatives are making a difference for the world and your bottom line.

Read the original article here

Owner Priscilla Lane-Rondeau came up with the idea for 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria when she realized that there was no place in New Hampshire that she could have a nice glass of wine and a homemade slice of pizza made from fresh, good quality ingredients.

 

MEMBER FEATURE: a conversation with Priscilla Lane-Rondeau, Owner of 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria

 

unnamed-2.jpg

The Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean extends a mile deeper than Earth's highest point, Mt. Everest. As the deepest part of the ocean, you'd expect any images of this vast underwater world to inspire awe and wonder. In April, however, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a picture of the Mariana Trench and people were horrified by the image that took front and center, a single use plastic bag.

 

"People don't realize," says Priscilla Lane-Rondeau, owner of 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, "The straw you use for 20 minutes will last forever in the environment." In an effort to decrease the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our environment, however, Priscilla and other sustainability conscious restaurant owners are launching a campaign to completely eliminate the use of plastic straws. This campaign, informally referred to as "Skip the Straw" or "Stop Sucking," is one very achievable and practical way that we may all help offset our plastic use wastage.

 

unnamed-1_0.jpg

900 Degrees used to go through 10,000 plastic straws a month. In the restaurant industry, including a straw with every beverage is such a pervasive practice that servers and bartenders often do so without a second thought. To help employees transition over to going strawless, Priscilla cleverly selected shorter glasses to serve drinks in. For customers who insist on a straw, 900 Degrees offers a compostable corn alternative. The cost of providing this alternative carries about a tenfold increase in price and is much more expensive to the restaurant. Ideally, with the educational component of "Skip the Straw," posters and table tents to encourage customers to rethink their resource usage, customers will stop requesting straws altogether.

 

"Restaurants are some of the biggest waste contributors when you account for everything from napkins to single use to-go containers," Priscilla explains, "so it is important for restaurants to be aware and to take responsibility for this." From using shades and rugs made from recycled materials, to LED lights, composting, and even the type of glue that is used for the floor tiles, Priscilla is always looking for ways to be more environmentally responsible in her restaurants.

unnamed_0.jpg

 

The biggest challenge, Priscilla believes, is that restaurant owners do not have the awareness or time to research better, sustainable practices. But she hopes to use her involvement in the NH Lodging & Restaurant Association as a platform to help inspire others in the hospitality industry to be more sustainable. "It is possible to have an amazing product and be concerned about the environment," Priscilla empathically advocates. Employing 130 full and part time workers and having just opened its third location in Portsmouth, 900 Degrees exemplifies just that.

 

You can reach out to Priscilla at plane@900degrees.com to find out more about "Skip the Straw" and her sustainability efforts in the restaurant industry. And, if you're craving a nice glass of wine, paired with your favorite slice of pizza, be sure to stop by either the Manchester, Epping, or Portsmouth 900 Degrees location.

Pages