Greening Our Business
by Emily Neuman
In November, the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce invited the Co-op to speak at an education program titled, “The Business Case for Sustainability.” “Share some numbers if you can,” the program coordinator requested.
Smiling, I turned to my Sustainability Team file: figures from 21 different departments in our Co-op, all demonstrating our commitment to environmental sustainability from the bottom up and the inside out; figures such as 3,100 trash bags and $1,600 saved in 2009 by paying closer attention to how we collect our trash in the “Hanover store“about/hanover-store.
It’s numbers like these that tell me our sustainability program at the Co-op is working and that our staff team is an essential component of our success.
We launched our team in late 2007 as a means of engaging staff from all parts of the Co-op in our journey to environmental sustainability. We are 29 members strong, with a representative from each department. Through trial and error, we’ve found that we do best when we work individually to effect change in our departments. But in all that we do, we’re pulling toward common goals from the Co-op’s strategic plan for environmental sustainability. Our team provides the structure and encouragement we all need in order to make continuous progress.
To mobilize ourselves for 2009, we kicked the year off with an open house. Snacks and drinks in hand, we mingled among displays about our four strategic goals for sustainability and took time to reflect on the Co-op’s progress in 2008. Before leaving, each team member wrote a New Year’s resolution for his or her department.
We later fashioned those resolutions into measurable goals. I met with team members throughout the year to check on their progress and, if needed, help them clear hurdles.
In October, we gathered to celebrate. Twenty-one team members had made good on their resolutions. Most were successful; some were not. But the fact that all of us were proactive is what gives our team the spirit we need to take on new challenges in 2010.
Here is some of what was accomplished in 2009:
You can help make our Co-op a little Greener in 2010. Here are some ideas:
Coming in the March issue of the Co-op News: the Co-op Strategic Goals for Environmental Sustainability
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