Making Your Office a Lean, Green, Emissions-Cutting Machine

October 15, 2012

Blog Action Day 2012: The Power of We

Reserve staff riding public transportation in downtown Los Angeles

We get excited to read about company sustainability initiatives. We love culling through these articles to learn how companies are going green and to inspire change in our own office. And while Fortune 500 companies, such as Google, UPS, Chevrolet and Disney pursue large-scale ambitious projects, small nonprofits can make an impact in cutting emissions, too! Here are some of our green initiatives at the Climate Action Reserve:

  1. Flex Your (Purchasing) Power

    We like to purchase the greenest options available – such as FSC certified paper, office supplies made from recycled or biodegradable materials, and natural and botanical cleaners. Our coffee is organic, fair trade and shade grown. Our pens are made from biodegradable, compostable corn plastic.

  2. Sustainable Operations Policies

    We got rid of our fax machine a few years ago and use an electronic online based fax service called All outgoing and incoming faxes are electronic documents.

    In addition to reducing our usage of resources (such as limiting printing to strictly necessary items), reusing available materials (such as packaging materials), and recycling everything that’s recyclable (paper, batteries, equipment), we are also excited to embark on composting food waste in the office via a worm-free, bug-free, odorless system.

    We also allow our staff to work from home one day a week to reduce transit impact on the environment.

    Speaking of transit impact, we are pleased to report that we have extremely high rates of ridership in the local public transportation system. Downtown Los Angeles is a difficult area to traverse via automobile during rush hour, with its one-way streets, congestion, honking, and pedestrians. So, instead of offering staff a reserved parking spot or full reimbursement of parking costs, we partner with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to offer discounted bus/rail passes to our staff.

  3. Green Meetings and Events

    When holding meetings and events, we use online webinar programs to the maximum extent possible. This allows our audience to participate without requiring any air and ground travel, and results in higher participation rates, reduced costs and much reduced emissions.

  4. Measure and Offset

    As a Member of The Climate Registry, we adhere to their rigorous General Reporting Protocol to measure our carbon footprint. For our emissions inventory, we measure our office electricity usage, heating and cooling, air and ground travel for events, and travel to and from the office during the weekday commute. Upon determining our annual emissions inventory, we purchase and retire carbon credits, called Climate Reserve Tonnes, through a blind trust to offset our emissions.

    We also measure and offset the emissions associated with our annual conference, Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW). Our conference is the largest carbon conference in North America, drawing approximately 600 leaders in business, environment, government and academia. We partner with a leading carbon offset retailer (TerraPass in 2011 and 2012) to calculate the travel for attendees, electricity and air conditioning usage for conference facilities and event-related occupied guest rooms during the duration of the conference.

The efforts of the organization to minimize our impact on the environment are successful because of the involvement and support of our staff. We’re always looking for additional ideas on improving our sustainability profile and we’d love to hear about green initiatives at your workplace! Thanks for reading, sharing and supporting the Power of We.


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