At Credera, the core of what we do is deliver quality business solutions to our clients. But we also pride ourselves on the corporate social responsibility work we do through partnering with local volunteer organizations, providing forums for our employees to discuss pressing issues, and pushing for a culture of diversity. We are always looking to strengthen this commitment by finding new ways to generate a positive impact on the community around us.
Recently, we identified a large gap in our commitment: Sustainability. Over the last six months, we have taken steps to improve our company’s internal practices to becoming a more sustainable organization. In this article, we would like to share how we approached beginning our sustainability journey and some of the initial steps we’re taking in 2020.
Starting Off and Identifying Opportunities
Consulting is a unique industry for measuring and improving sustainability since our work is knowledge, rather than tangible goods – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity for us to take initiative. Credera operates offices in multiple cities, employees travel occasionally to meet with clients, and like most companies, we consume standard office materials. To begin to tackle this challenge, we launched a Sustainability Committee tasked with devising a strategy for our firm. From there, we stated our goals publicly to the company and wasted no time instituting small-scale quick wins around the office. For our loftier efforts, we have organized activities under four pillars.
Proactive Use of Energy
Efficient Use of Office Space
Smart Commuting and Travel
We are publishing these goals to hold ourselves accountable, something we feel is important to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability going forward.
Credera’s 2020 Goals for Proactive Use of Energy
Work with our building management to track electricity usage – As it stands, one of the biggest challenges is understanding how much electricity we are using on a regular basis. Without this metric, it can be hard to quantify improvements. Our goal is to work with our building management in each city to gain insight into our kilowatt-hour (kwh) usage metrics, and then eventually, decrease usage.
Encourage our employees to switch off electronics daily – We encourage our team rooms to make it feel like home with their own lights and fans. But to make sure we’re not wasting electricity, we plan to place signage in rooms to remind our employees to shut off electricity daily or to install motion-sense switches where appropriate.
Credera’s 2020 Goals for Efficient Use of Office Space
Include criteria for sustainable building features for future office decisions – Credera has been growing rapidly, which means we may soon outgrow office spaces in some of our geographies. When the time comes to determine new office spaces, we will make sure considerations such as natural light, building materials, and proximity to public transportation are included in office decision criteria to limit our footprint.
Utilize the natural sunlight we have in office spaces – It sounds simple, but the more we can reduce the need for turning on overhead fluorescent lights in favor of just using sunlight from big windows, the better. Our team rooms are encouraged to open blinds before flipping light switches.
Credera’s 2020 Goals for Waste Minimization
Significantly reduce use of single-use utensils, cups, and plates in our offices – It has been eye-opening to see how much waste an average office space can create from single-use materials. Leading our employees to use reusable dishes and utensils can save hundreds of pounds of waste per month, not to mention the purchasing costs for disposables. We’re outfitting all our kitchen areas with plentiful reusable options, often from secondhand sources.
Establish convenient recycling programs for each office – While we do have recycling in many of our offices, increasing adoption by making it more convenient to use is the second half of the equation. Dependent upon local recycling options, we will adhere to guidelines on using separate containers for recyclable materials and add composting as an option where possible.
Credera’s 2020 Goals for Smart Commuting and Travel
Continue to provide flexibility in commuting – Credera has prided itself on providing a flexible work/life balance for employees. Everyone has different needs for their commute, so we maintain a flexible work schedule allowing for employees to leave earlier or later in the workday based on their needs and project needs. Less time spent in congested traffic can lead to less idling when driving, which saves unnecessary CO2 emissions – not to mention less stress!
Explore incentives for taking public transportation or biking to work – As we expand into the Chicago and New York City offices this year, we already have an increased number of employees taking public transportation. To help grow adoption, we plan on researching ways to incentivize employees to take light rail, bus, or even bike to work.
Quantify the impact of our flight mileage– While Credera works hard to keep our people in the geography they live in, as with all consulting work, we do engage in business travel to provide our clients face to face experiences. We are piloting ways to improve the tracking of our flight mileage and equate these to carbon emissions. This will give us a jumping off point for future reduction efforts.
In addition to these defined goals, we are also taking steps to provide helpful education for our employees. To promote awareness and adoption of sustainable practices outside the workplace, we have plans for events such as these:
Carbon Footprint Awareness – Our Denver office is hosting an event where employees gather to calculate their individual carbon footprint. The goal is never to shame or blame, but to educate each other on how much certain actions impact our climate and community.
Sustainable Month Challenge – This summer, we plan on hosting a company-wide sustainability 30-day challenge. Each day, employees can opt to make a sustainable tweak in their lives and take a photo to show their progress. This will be a fun way to incorporate sustainable practices in our everyday lives, even beyond work.
Lunch and Learns – There are a multitude of innovative solutions being proposed to address the climate threat from scientists, activists, and politicians. To increase organizational awareness and knowledge, we will host lunch events to discuss the merits and projected impacts of these policies.
Volunteer Events – The founding members of the Sustainability Committee participated in the monthly White Rock Lake cleanup sponsored by For the Love of the Lake in Dallas.
A More Sustainable Credera
We undoubtedly have a long way to go, but we’re making strides to educate our people, ingrain sustainable practices in our day to day, and quantify our results to demonstrate progress. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made to becoming a part of the solution.
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