by “Green Jean” Ponzi of Missouri Botanical Garden
Resource Advisor to the Green Challenge
Preface by Brightergy Green Team Leader, Cindy Bambini
In my last post I reported that we were launching the RCGA Green Business Challenge in our St. Louis office. With this post I’m pleased to report that we are in the thick of it…actively implementing change in the way we do business every day to make Brightergy more sustainable.
Our green team has been officially formed and with the help of St. Louis Green Business Challenge resource advisor, Jean Ponzi, we have identified where we can make the most impact for good by bettering our business practices.
The one effort I am most excited about will hopefully qualify for the Challenge “innovation point” category. During our meeting with Green Jean we discovered that we did not have a recycling policy for our solar job sites. Solar panels arrive shrink-wrapped on wooden pallets and have plastic protectors on the corners of each panel. Not a lot of waste, but certainly not landfill material either. Our challenge task will be to implement a plan to recycle all these materials – making our work-sites as net-zero waste as possible. We can then share our strategy with our friendly competitors in the area to affect greater change. Green Jean helped us find a local place that will use our shrink wrap as feed stock! (Who knew?)
I’ll report on the implementation of our work site waste reduction policy and other efforts in more detail next time. Until then, I’ve asked Green Jean to provide the official lowdown on the challenge so you know that being in the “thick of it” is exactly where we all need to be!
Sustainability is BLOOMING in over 100 of our region’s businesses!
Three years ago the St. Louis RCGA engaged EarthWays Center, my division of the Garden, to serve as Resource Advisors to participants in the newly-forming Green Business Challenge. Our Regional Chamber and Growth Association launched this initiative as part of a larger “Climate Prosperity Project” they had joined through a grant from the Rockefeller Bros. Foundation.
What??? Businesses investing time, energy, person-power, and money in – GOING GREEN?
Yes! In a big way – and in a focused, strategic, business-friendly structure – with activity efficiently coordinated by company Green Teams.
RCGA adapted a categorized, point-based scorecard developed by ICLEI to help the City of Chicago enlist business support for achieving Mayor Daley’s carbon-emission reduction targets. This practical, task-oriented scorecard covers all aspects of internal business practice, common to any kind of enterprise. Categories include:
- Outreach: internal communications and employee education; external relations with suppliers, customers, the general public especially via website content.
- Energy: general building energy use and policies, lighting, office equipment, use of renewables and RECs.
- Waste Miminization: recycling, composting, purchasing recycled-content and other green products.
- Indoor Environmental Quality: Green Cleaning, construction IAQ protection plans, smoke-free workplace, no-idling policies.
- Water Conservation: in building and landscape uses.
- Transportation: Carpooling, bicycle commuting, other vehicle emission reduction policies and practices.
- Innovations: Exemplary performance in scorecard measures, innovations specific to each company’s type of business, collaborative measures –and more.
Just over 50 companies completed the Challenge in 2010. In this third year of one of RCGA’s most successful and popular member-benefit programs, 85 of our leading businesses are actively engaged in this internal-greening process – with about 30% of these new participants and another 30% involved for a third year. 100 companies have been involved over the three Challenge years. Participants include Fortune 500 and 100 corporations, our public utilities, banks and law firms, building-industry leaders, colleges and universities, our region’s leading cultural institutions, and specialized, high-visibility organizations like the St. Louis Cardinals, Lambert International Airport, the St. Louis Rams and the Nine Network of Public Media. Case Studies compiled by Challenge companies vividly illustrate the range and power of this regional endeavor.
Brightergy Solar, new to the Challenge in 2012, is in distinguished company! Thanks to Cindy Bambini (a Green Challenge Award of Achievement winner at her previous company) and her Green Team, your company’s St. Louis office is efficiently greening up internal practices and policies, to keep pace with the sustainability leadership embodied in all the work you do. Learn more at www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com.