How would your business choose Sustainable Development Goals? Start with our ideas:

The language of sustainability can seem like an alphabet soup of acronyms, making the very personal work we do feel rather impersonal. SDG. UN. GRI. SRS. Despite the jargon, these are acronyms that connect businesses back to one central goal – make the world a more just and secure place for all.

The Corporate Sustainability Collaborative (CSC, just to add one more acronym to the heap) hosted its Quarterly Meeting in early September, focusing on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how businesses can make lofty goals like these important parts of a corporate responsibility program.

"Understanding and Integrating the SDGs" presentation cover slide
Attend a second session of this workshop at the Oct. 10th GoGreen Portland conference. 30% off coupon code at the bottom of this post.

Jami Haaning from Engie Insight provided the initial overview of the SDGs and outlined ways in which businesses have worked key Goals into every aspect of their work – from raw materials to the end of life of a product or service. Her presentation, with specifics of how businesses can set their own goals, is available here.

The goals this workshop focused on were:

Breakout groups brainstormed tactics for one goal their organizations could set to make the greatest impact. Ideas bubbled up from the groups, including:

SDG 3 (health and well-being):

  • Create a corporate Wellness Committee that oversees health-related initiatives like these below, and ask for input from employees not on the committee
  • Company purchases healthy snacks (like fruit) for the office
  • Use EcoChallenge to encourage employees to be healthy, with FitBit as prize
  • Sponsor a company team for Bike More Challenge or other active transportation advocacy events
  • Psychiatric/mental health counseling included in benefits
  • “Total Rewards Package” includes non-traditional benefits such as meditation packages, quiet space, yoga classes, fitness center, locker rooms in the workplace
  • Program for logging activity levels
  • Use safety committee to promote health/well-being and its effects on safety (i.e. awareness of lack of sleep and its risks on the job)
  • Offer adequate levels of vacation, and structure teams to allow people to use time away from work

SDG 7 (energy):

  • Donate employee time to serve on non-profit boards of organizations advancing clean and/or affordable energy (such as Earth Advantage or Community Energy Project)
  • Promote Earth Hour at your place of employment; this is a global challenge to shut the lights off for one hour, the next one is: 8:30-9:30 March 30th, 2019
  • Donate employee time to volunteer with groups like Community Energy Project that install weather-stripping and plastic on the windows for older residents, or those with disabilities. For those able to do the work themselves, CEP provides training and supply kits.
  • Encourage employees, friends and employers to offset energy usage through carbon offset programs for natural gas and electricity. This puts promotion and assurance of on-going biogas and wind projects into the hands of the people for relatively low cost. Smart Energy, Blue Sky and PGE’s offset options are programs Portland businesses can consider.
  • In Portland, companies could promote employees getting a Home Energy Score by off-setting the cost and then interviewing these employees and featuring the learnings/experience in a company-wide communication forum. This makes the concepts of energy efficiency seem more relevant when your house gets an efficiency score.

 SDG 10 (inequality): 

  • Hold job fairs in low-income areas and rural areas to attract new and more diverse set of applicants
  • Hire workers from disadvantaged communities (example: Portland companies’ “We Hire Refugees” commitments)
  • Eliminate common barriers to employment for people of different abilities / backgrounds (example: remove higher-education degree requirements for non-technical jobs)
  • Make workspaces accessible and accommodating
  • Conduct “blind” hiring processes, where names of applicants are not shown to hiring managers, only qualifications
  • Promote workers from within a company

SDG 11 (sustainable cities):

  • Offer inexpensive or free access to public transportation for employees
  • Offer employees incentives to use active transportation methods (biking, walking, riding a skateboard) to the office
  • Businesses with park-like space (courtyards, outdoor spaces) can open them up for use by the public
  • Use the power of your business with local / state / federal government to advocate for policies that advance sustainable cities. Sign on to coalitions of businesses working for equitable transportation, urban design, public spaces, or other urban livability improvements.
  • Banks and investors can lend to projects with sustainable development goals and using sustainable technologies in their design or business operations.

SDG 12 (consumption):

  • Switch to paperless processes to reduce paper waste and storage needs. (ex. NW Natural has worked on a comprehensive paper reduction program.)
  • Update purchasing requirements to prefer products with reduced packaging and made from post-consumer recycled materials.
  • Switch to reusable dishware in office kitchens / breakrooms and use catering companies that provide reusable dishware.
  • For manufacturers, work on closed loop systems.
  • Educate coworkers, friends and family members on sustainable consumption choices through programs like EcoChallenge.

SDG 13 (climate change):

  • Move company’s power consumption to sustainable sources (wind, solar) with the help of local utilities
  • Work with building managers/owners to convert office or facility lighting to energy-efficient options, such as LEDs
  • Work to instill resilience (being able to cope with loss of water or power, minimize impacts from potential natural disasters) in the company’s supply chain and operations assets
  • Have the company advocate for cheaper, easier access to sustainable energy with utilities, local and state governments

Many businesses are already using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)’s business indicators to track actions like these, and the SDGCompass.org website offers a handy list of key GRI Indicators for each Goal.

To participate in a second presentation of this workshop, attend the Portland GoGreen conference on Oct. 10th – use the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative’s coupon code (CSC30) to get 30% off your registration.

Advertisements

Dig into Sustainable Development Goals on September 6:

At our last meeting we learned about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they fit into the larger world of investing and reporting. We also heard how two local businesses, Portland Roasting and Portland Hawthorne Hostel, have used the SDGs to shape their sustainability goals and staff engagement.

At this meeting, we’ll dig into a handful of the goals that are most applicable to Portland businesses and the work CSC members do. Sign up for lunch and the workshop here…

You’ll be able to choose the SDG that most interests you, and join a small group conversation to discuss:

  • Where do you have influence?
  • Where can you take action?
  • What are key takeaways you can implement?

If you’d like to learn more about the SDGs that we’ll be discussing, check out these links:

A $5 RSVP ticket is required to attend, to offset lunch and venue costs.

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.

 

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.

Ruby-Receptionists-4-Color-Logo

logo-WCN_horiz

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:

CAN-infograph

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!

EventBrite_header_CSC_12-2017_mtg

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: