Gold Certified for Sustainability
We are very excited to announce that The Gartrell Group has been Gold Certified through Portland’s Sustainability at Work program! This means that we have gone through their certification process and met all of the criteria to warrant a Gold Certificate. We actually enjoyed the certification process – the Sustainability staff were great to work with and the endeavor provided some valued opportunity to reflect on our work practices and their environmental impact. Check out their program if you haven’t already. A few notes on practices and results that figured into our certification follow.
A Green Team!
Our office space incorporates natural light in such a way that it is rare for us to turn on lights, and when we do, they are of the compact florescent variety. Our staff saves money and energy by brewing our own pots of delicious Portland roasted coffee and pouring the life giving nectar into their favorite, reusable mugs. We drink the best water in the world, straight from the Bull Run Reservoir in our favorite pint glasses - that happen to be sitting on our desks when the day ends and the laptops and other electronics are tucked in for the night.
Our (work) world exists almost entirely in the digital realm, however, on the occasions when we do need to produce hard copy, we attempt to use 100% post-consumer recycled paper to the greatest extent possible. We compost food waste and use exclusively green-certified cleaning products assuring not only a clean work space but one free of environmental toxins. We have also implemented and formalized procedures to track and measure our recycling and “tip volume” of garbage/waste.
Through the certification process which included an on-site audit and interview, some of these metrics have been given a finer point and have become more prominent in our thinking.
Bikes and Gettin’ Around the Green Way!
No less that 25% of our staff commute by bike daily. Of course they do, we live in Portland! Our building has covered, secure bike parking as well as shower and locker facilities. In addition, we have an office bike available for use. Any meetings held in Portland are generally ridden or walked to. Riding across the bridges together as a team is far more fun than piling into a car and looking for a parking spot! When work demands commuting between offices, we have incentives to help employees opt for greener transportation modes – we’ve standardized the bus, bike, train routine for getting to and fro to Seattle clients and our ImpactHub shop which shares many similarly enviro-conscious amenities and attributes with our Portland office. We’ve also been known to challenge each other to participate in various “green” commuting competitions and programs, the more playful or absurd the better.
Like any modern office, we use a lot of electronic equipment (most of our staff rely upon multiple monitors, and we develop applications for use on mobile devices). While we try our best to extend the lifespan of these goods, there’s only so much we can do. Once the time comes to retire electronics, we find proper homes. Electronics have been donated as well as recycled (and maybe a few have been dismantled by our children, in an attempt to understand what makes them work).
A way of life
Meeting the City of Portland’s Sustainability at Work program at the Gold level was not an onerous challenge, as the recommended sustainability best-practices were, for the most part, pretty well embedded in the daily habits and routines of our staff. Growing consciousness and increases in recycling, composting, riding bikes, favoring hybrid cars and alternative means of transport, and generally monitoring energy use are observable trends in our company culture and extend to people’s private lives as well. Iron Eyes Cody clearly had a deep impact on how we live our lives.
We expect that other businesses might have a similar experience, but would also find the process rewarding, as we did, for the light it sheds on things that could be done better or small changes that could be made that could have a large cumulative impact. We encourage our peers to give it a go and hope for us all that more and more businesses will take pride in sporting the cool “Sustainability at Work” seal.