When we decided to look at sustainability and become a green organization in 2007, the goal seemed vast. I think a lot of people feel this way when they begin the process of leaving a carbon neutral footprint. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
The City of Seattle’s Climate Protection Initiative was formed by Mayor Nickels and pledged that Seattle would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. To carry out the policies and to achieve the reduction Mayor Nickels approved the creation of the Seattle Climate Partnership. We have volunteered to be part of this program and committed to become a green organization.
Our former CEO, Jeff Merriman-Cohen launched our green initiative and was heavily involved in the early steps to becoming a green organization. Colleen Lindstrom, our new CEO, shares this passion which is contagious here at Merriman.
Once we mastered the basics of reducing, reusing and recycling we thought of bigger and broader ways we could function with sustainability within our space. We were inspired to implement green concepts into our design and architecture of our office space, from DIRTT walls to recycled ceiling tiles and motion-sensor lights.
We continually foster and encourage green living at the office and at home. Our employee recognition program called “Caught You Green Handed,” encourages employees to think and act green. The prize they receive is a green product they can take home, enabling them to continue their green behaviors outside of the office. We are continually looking for ways to be good stewards of the earth and this year we started composting in our kitchen.
We post weekly green tips on our company intranet to keep the concepts fresh and in the front of our minds. We use re-usable picnic cups and plates for 40 employees and their family members at our annual company picnic. We deal with the inconvenience of bringing dirty dishes back to the office for washing because it’s the right thing to do for our environment.
For all our efforts, we still leave a carbon footprint. We choose to off-set our remaining footprint through Carbonfund. A carbon offset represents a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) somewhere else, like a renewable energy or reforestation project, to balance out the emissions you cannot reduce
We are very fortunate that our CEO is passionate about sustainability and wants to inspire positive change. Through real-world examples we are able to help our employees make the world a better place for all its inhabitants.