Need a framework for sustainability? Use the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The Corporate Sustainability Collaborative’s last Quarterly Meeting introduced us to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  These broad goals can act as a framework on which to build a more socially responsible and sustainable business. Mike Wallace from BrownFlynn, an ERM Company, gave us the 30,000-foot view of the SDGs and how they compare to other measurement tools.  (View his CSC SDG introduction for links to a TON of great resources.)

In this same presentation, Michelle Singler of Portland Roasting Co. covered how their local business incorporates UN SDGs into its employee engagement program. (Skip to page 35 to see their work.)  Michele Machado from Hostelling International (Hawthorne) also gave examples of how HI’s network of travelers’ hostels built an award-winning awareness campaign around the SDGs. (Skip to page 41 to see their work.)

Jami Haaning from Engie Insight shared a crucial tool for considering how to use the SDGs in your organization. Download her worksheets to consider questions that can help you find the right SDGs for your company.

 

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We did Earth Month right!

RRR+ 2018 resultsPreventing waste. Touring our city’s garbage transfer station. Giving you the low-down on our recycling system. Movie night. Volunteering (in the city AND at a natural area.) A group bike ride with a tour of a food distribution hub.

It’s pretty amazing when we look back at all the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative and our member companies were able to do in just one month.  We couldn’t have done all these events without the help of the partners who put on events, gave us prizes for our Reduce Reuse Recaffeinate+ program, and got their employees to participate.  Thank you to our partners:

Location and event presenters and sponsors:
City of Portland – Sustainability at Work
ECO (Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors)
Energy Trust of Oregon
Heritage Bank
Recology
Apex Environmental
NW Natural
Columbia Slough Watershed Council
Ruby Receptionists
SOLVE
Ecotrust — The Redd on Salmon Street
Asher David Brewing and Cellarworks
B-Line Urban Delivery
The Street Trust

Prize donors:
BIKETOWN
Portland Trailblazers
EcoTeas Organic Yerba Mate
GO Box
EarthShare Oregon
Garden Bar

Want your employees to be in on the fun next year?  Sign up as a Corporate Sustainability Collaborative member, or volunteer to help us put on an event in 2019!

SOLD OUT: June 7th Quarterly Meeting:

Register now

Join your sustainability colleagues for lunch to go beyond the basics of sustainability. Innovative businesses of all sizes are using the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to plan and quantify their effect on the planet and our society. Mike Wallace, a Partner with ERM, a leading sustainability consultancy, will lead a session on SDGs. Jami Haaning from Engie Insight will facilitate group exercises to help you select the SDGs that align with your company.

Note: A $5 paid ticket is required to attend, and all seats are currently sold.  Put your name on the waitlist and we will contact you if space becomes available.

This quarter’s meeting generously hosted by Ruby Receptionists, with lunch provided by Waste Connections.

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Last call for Earth Month fun!

The Corporate Sustainability Collaborative’s biggest effort of the year is here: April is Earth Month!  This year’s events have concluded, but you can still email in your Reduce Reuse Recaffeinate Plus card to get entered to win prizes!

Be sure to email a picture  or a scan of your card to oregoncscollaborative@gmail.com no later than May 4th.  Prizes include a signed Portland Trailblazers basketball (signed by the whole 2018 team!), prize baskets from EcoTeas , environmental gift bag from EarthShare Oregon, and a plethora of items to help you keep improving your waste prevention efforts!

March 1 Quarterly Meeting — Plastics: What Now?

 

At our March 1 meeting, staff from the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Sustainability at Work discussed what’s happening in recycling and reuse. Below are some the take-aways.

Wondering what’s happening with recycling after seeing recent news headlines? Here’s a short video that explains how January 2018 changes to international recycling markets are impacting US recycling:
grist video
Click here to watch.

Read more about what’s happening here in Portland and what it means for you.

Top take-aways

We don’t know when “extra plastics” recycling will return. Right now those plastics are not economically viable to recycle. Read more.

Portland’s regular recycling (at work and home) has not changed. However, it’s more important than ever to “recycle right” by only recycling the allowed items. So it’s a great time to:

  1. Review the list
  2. Label your workplace recycling with accurate signs
  3. Call Metro’s recycling information line (503-234-3000) if you have questions about what can be recycled.

Reduce and reuse first, then recycle

Recycling is great! By recycling old products into new ones reduces the use of natural resources and saves energy and water in the manufacturing process.

BUT, far more energy and resources are saved by reducing the amount of disposable products you use, and reusing products as much as possible before disposing of them. This infographic from the City’s Climate Action Now campaign shows that disposal is only a tiny percent of a product’s carbon impact:

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Tips for reuse in Portland

Find tons of ideas and resources at ResourcefulPDX.

resourceful pdxClick here to see the map of reuse, swap and repair opportunities in Portland.

This quarter’s meeting was generously hosted by:

Cambia Logo          

Our 2017 wins are big, but our goals are bigger

csc december meetingWhether you have a company employing several thousand people, or just a few folks, every business has some goals for being more efficient, using fewer resources, and saving money where they can.  At the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative’s last meeting of 2017, participating companies gathered to share their biggest “wins” for 2017. Not coincidentally, most of their efforts had both sustainability and efficiency benefits.

#Wins

Some were big projects with far-reaching impacts:

  • The Bonneville Power Administration focused on saving energy by making their data center more efficient.
  • The Port of Portland piloted a project at Portland International Airport to replace disposable food containers in their restaurants outside security areas with real plates and bowls (100,000 of them!)
  • Widmer Brewing installed a CO2 recovery and re-use system in their brewing operations, becoming the first Oregon brewer to “close the CO2 loop”.

Smaller organizations worked just as hard to make their sustainability leaps:

  • Installing LED lights in their office.
  • Purchasing an electric car and charging station for employees to use.
  • Retiring an old energy-sucking computer server in favor of better cloud computing.
  • Adding indoor bike racks.
  • Paying for emergency rides home for employees who bike or take public transportation to work.

#Goals

When we asked about 2018 goals, things got more ambitious:

One company wants to organize their neighbors in their office building to collectively ask for sustainability improvements, difficult work when building management companies change often.

Elemental Energy, through its own nonprofit organization, Twende Solar, is bringing renewable power to populations without access to power generation systems.

Lloyd EcoDistrict is setting goals that would get the whole Lloyd District to producing zero waste, even with the many new offices and apartments being built now.

Portland Pedal Power is expanding its sustainability metrics into the social impact sphere, tracking and making goals for how their business can have a positive impact on the region, not just their own bottom line.

In it to win it, together

The sustainability professionals and organizations that make up the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative will be relying on one another throughout 2018 to share ideas, resources, and connections to turn their 2018 goals into next year’s “wins”.

December’s Quarterly Meeting is a Happy Hour!

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Join us at our final meeting of 2017:

Date: Thursday, December 7th
Time: 4-6 p.m.
Location: Widmer Brothers Pub, 955 North Russell St.
Cost: $10, includes Widmer beer and hors d’oeuvres.

*If the cost is prohibitive for you, let us know, we’ll make it work! At this meeting, we’ll spend time getting to know each other and sharing our own successes (and challenges) from the past year.

Our featured presentation, by Lloyd EcoDistrict, showcases collaborative, sustainability-centered work with Right 2 Dream Too to provide needed resources to people living outdoors. We’ll also have more sustainability pros sharing their workplace’s 2017 sustainability, waste prevention, and employee engagement wins! Moda Health, Ruby Receptionists, and CLEAResult are just a few who will be sharing ideas you’ll be able to take back to your own office.

Reserve your spot now — quarterly meetings usually sell out!

Leadership and Innovative Partnerships to Advance Equity: notes from GoGreen 2017

Leadership in Equity header both logos

At this year’s GoGreen Conference, the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative organized a session highlighting business leadership and innovative partnerships to advance equity in our region.

If you missed GoGreen, or were interested in learning more about the featured organizations and their work, here are some highlights:

Emerging Leaders Internship, founded by eROI

1 Emerging LeadersEmerging Leaders Internship (ELI) places amazingly talented college-students of color, first-generation to go to college, or low-income college students with Portland’s top companies. After just 18 months from its founding, Emerging Leaders Internship received 670 internship applications and has 140 open intern positions to fill at these top-tier companies. They are creating a community of companies who believe in the importance of diversity in leadership and are actively creating pathways to leadership in their companies.

Speakers:

 

We Hire Refugees, founded by Indow & IRCO

Indow partnered with the Immigrant and Refugee 2 we hire refugeesCommunity Organization (IRCO), a non-profit organization, to form We Hire Refugees. We Hire Refugees is a platform for businesses of all sizes to declare that refugees make our communities, companies, and country stronger. Companies can sign if they welcome, hire, or support refugees.

Speakers:

 

Partners in Diversity

Partners in Diversity (PiD) operates as an affiliate of the Portland Business Alliance Charitable Institute and seeks to address employers’ critical needs for achieving and empowering a workforce that reflects the rapidly changing demographics of the Pacific Northwest. They do educational programs, job3 Partners in Diversity Logo postings and distribution of information for CEOs and for those who work in human resources or in diversity roles. PiD also helps recently relocated professionals of color connect with the multicultural community through major networking events such as their signature Say Hey! event, civic engagement opportunities, social media, our website and personal relationships.

Portland General Electric (PGE) has partnered with Partners in Diversity to host the PGE Diversity Summit. The 2015 summit drew an audience of over 1,000 people from across the region to discuss diversification of workforces. They anticipate a similar crowd at the 2018 PGE Diversity Summit.

Speakers:

 

Behavior Change & BBPDX: Highlights from September’s meeting

The Corporate Sustainability Collaborative’s sold-out (but still free!) September Quarterly meeting brought together sustainability pros from businesses of all sizes and sectors.  Some highlights for those who couldn’t be there:

BBPDX

We first heard from Ashley Henry, the Chief Collaboration Officer for Business For A Better Portland (BBPDX). Henry, whose background includes climate, clean energy and affordable housing advocacy, has been a long-time community partner with one of our members, Kristen Connor of Heritage Bank.  She told us about the organization’s roots as a volunteer-group in 2016 called the Portland Independent Chamber of Commerce, and its emergence as a membership organization in early 2017. You can read more about the organization’s history here.

With a focus on bringing greater shared prosperity to all Portlanders, BBPDX has engaged its members and followers in a variety of efforts in 2017 including advocating for tenant protections to prevent homelessness; greater diversity in the workplace in partnership with the Emerging Leaders Initiative; and helping raise over $23,000 for this year’s Pitch Black.  You can read more about their calls to action here, their growing list of members here (over 150 in 9 months) and and how to become a member here.   They will launch a new website and their September Call To Action (a partnership with Street Roots) on Thursday, September 14 so subscribe at the bottom of their home page to get notifications of that and other ways you can engage as a member or volunteer.

 

Behavior Change: Nudging people towards Action

Lindsey Maser from Sustainability at Work presented behavior change tips to nudge your coworkers towards specific sustainable behaviors, like recycling, biking to work, or turning computers off at night.

Here are the key points from the workshop:

Step 1: Know your audience

Find out what’s getting in the way of your audience taking the action (barriers), and what might motivate them to take the action (benefits). Once you know these, you can reduce barriers and increase benefits, thereby making it easier and more appealing for them to take the action.

Step 2: Make it easy

People are hard-wired to take the path of least resistance, especially when they’re busy. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and go through the action you’re asking them to do: Find any points of hassle or confusion and minimize them as much as possible. Better yet? Make the behavior you want the default, like automatic light timers, or changing print settings to default double-sided.

And for your emails or other communications? These days, most people skim emails and other written materials, so you’ve got 5-10 seconds to make your ask clear. Before hitting send (or print) ask a coworker outside the green team to do a “5 second flip test:” spending only 5-10 seconds, they should skim the communication, and tell you want it said. If they can’t tell you the action you wanted them to take, go back and make it more clear. Find tips for making your emails skimmable here.

Step 3: Make it social

Humans are very social creatures. We take cues from what our peers are doing to know how we should act, and to make better decisions (think of Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon reviews). Many sustainable behaviors are invisible, so make them more visible, and show that many people are doing them. Use quotes and testimonials from staff about why and how they do sustainable behaviors: “Biking is fun, I get my exercise in, and I love zipping past traffic,” or “I always leave my reusable coffee mug by the front door, so I don’t forget it.” Or have people share photos, of them biking, or all the places they take their reusable water bottle to (hiking, biking, picnicking, etc.).

Other tips from the behavioral sciences include:

Make it hands on: Host a brown bag to make green cleaners, re-use notebooks or bike buckets. It’s fun, and people actually value things more that they’ve had a hand in creating (It’s called the IKEA effect!)

Give feedback: We often spend so much time asking people to do something, we forget to follow up and let them know their action made a difference. Positive reinforcement, like a “thank you, great job” email or a “look at the big impact we made through everyone’s efforts,” can be very helpful in encouraging people to continue the behavior.

Gamify it: You can tap into people’s competitive nature by encouraging sustainable behaviors through friendly competition. Bike More Challenge and EcoChallenge are great ways to do this. Or create your own version of March Madness brackets for different teams or departments to compete on carpooling, biking, using reusable mugs, etc.

Download the workshop exercises and tips sheet.

For a copy of the presentation, email Lindsey.

 

Cheers to the host

A Big thanks to CLEAResult for hosting the meeting space and providing lunch. It’s sponsorship like theirs that keeps the Collaborative running dues-free!

If you’re interested in hosting a future meeting, please contact Meghan Humphreys, EarthShare Oregon (meghan@earthshare-oregon.org).

Engagement: as easy as A-D-K-A-R

The Corporate Sustainability Collaborative’s sold-out (but still free!) June Quarterly meeting brought together sustainability pros from businesses of all sizes and sectors.  Some highlights for those who couldn’t be there:

First, big thanks to KPFF for hosting the meeting space AND a delicious lunch. It’s sponsorship like theirs that keeps the Collaborative running dues-free!

Jody Foster and Kymm Nelsen, co-founded Conscious Capitalism Portland, a chapter of a global movement dedicated to elevating humanity through business.  Anyone, or any company, committed to embracing Conscious Capitalism in their business, can learn more and join at www.consciouscapitalismportland.org.

Meghan Humphreys from EarthShare Oregon introduced a new system for planning and understanding employee engagement in your company, a “Cycle of Engagement”. EarthShare Oregon, a Portland-based nonprofit, is using this Cycle to help partner companies engage more employees more fully in sustainability improvements in the workplace and in their daily lives.

The headliner at June’s meeting was Wendy Gibson with CLEAResult.  Wendy works with businesses on energy efficiency improvement projects – work that often is only successful when businesses get their employees to make wise energy choices on an individual basis.  She walked through a useful system for inspiring, driving and reinforcing behavior change in groups of workers called ADKAR, which was originally developed by Jeff Hiatt.  ADKAR stands for:

  • Awareness
  • Desire
  • Knowledge
  • Ability
  • Reinforcement

See the event slides for more on the ADKAR concept.  Attendees used the ADKAR framework to generate ideas on how they might tackle each stage in their office, coming up with everything from company memos posted in bathroom stalls (Awareness) to creating an awards ceremony for participants (Reinforcement).

Learn more about how to use ADKAR to drive sustainable behavior in your office through the book “ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government, and Our Community” by Jeff Hiatt.  A simple online search of “ADKAR sustainability” will provide a wealth of additional resources!

Want to get in on the next Quarterly meeting in September?  Make sure your business is signed up as a member (just fill out our online survey and then RSVP here.)