How do you make sure an environmental policy isn’t just another checked-off item on your sustainability projects list (“Yep, we have that”), but something that informs the everyday actions of people throughout your organization?
New Resource faced that question when the staff Green Team realized that no one was reading the bank’s environmental policy. It not only needed an update, it needed a life beyond the page.
The team went over the policy—a list of standards and relevant goals—point by point, deleting goals that had been met, making others more challenging, and adding targets. The bank then committed to bringing the policy to life, and is taking these actions:
Lunches hosted by President and CEO Vince Siciliano to walk all staff members through the policy
A sustainability challenge asking everyone to agree to work on nine items in the policy and come up with other things they want to do
Environmental action contests geared toward meeting specific goals
Incorporating the policy and expectations around it into the orientation process for new employees
“We don’t want to just put up the policy and have it never be read,” says Gary Groff, branch manager and Green Team chair. “We’re trying to build it into the fabric of the bank.
“We’re starting with the lunches so that people recognize the importance of the policy—the CEO is introducing it—and understand it and buy into it,” he adds. “We want to do this in a way that lets everyone recognize the positive effects of adhering to it, for the business and themselves.”
Key elements of the environmental policy include:
Waste diversion: New Resource aims to divert 90 percent of its waste from landfill (and may soon raise that goal to 95 percent). The bank composts and recycles, not just the usual materials but also soft plastics, e-waste and Styrofoam.
Environmentally friendly purchasing:The bank looks for the most Earth-friendly option with every purchase—which is not the sacrifice some might think. “The cost has been negligibly higher or not higher at all, and the quality has been as good,” Groff says.
Transportation:New Resource subsidizes public transportation for commuters and provides City CarShare to employees who need a car for meetings. The bank also buys third-party verified renewable energy certificates to offset employee travel as well as electricity use.
Download the full New Resource Bank Environmental Policy here.
San Francisco Green Business Program — New Resource used the program’s standards as a basis for its policy.
iReuse — New Resource uses iReuse to track waste diversion.