A company’s corporate impact is actually a fraction of its overall impact if you are looking at the entire lifecycle of everything we make, from clothing to packaging and all in between. However, setting a tone at our corporate office has an incredible ripple effect. Employees engaged in sustainability start thinking with communities and the environment in mind. Exciting and creative solutions start to percolate and we are able to extend our intention that much further. We are just a small company like so many others across the country, so we want to share with you what we have been doing at our company to hopefully inspire you to make a change at your place of work. Also check out the resources we have posted for your reference.
Reducing the amount of energy we use, not only reduces our environmental impact, but also reduces the amount of money we spend each month on our energy bill.
At prAna, we checked with our energy supplier and they actually provide FREE energy audits of businesses. We had the audit which consisted of walking through our entire facility and assessing the lighting and equipment we currently use. Then an analysis was done on the cost of retrofits, and the rebates that were available. From there we have put together a list of priorities to lessen our footprint.
Our day to day behavior can have a big effect on our energy use. Here are 4 simple ways to reduce your energy use at work.
• Turn off your computer monitor if it will not be used for more than 20 minutes (For sure at the end of each day)
• Turn off lights when not in use
• Turn on the AC/Heat only when necessary – adjust thermostats accordingly
• Personal electronics – take responsibility for your personal electronics don’t leave them plugged in and on.
Waste and Recycling
prAna has been recycling for most of its existence, but surprisingly enough when we looked deep into our waste and recycling program, we found a number of opportunities for improving our efforts.
We did a waste audit to see what we were throwing away and a lot of what was going in the trash could have been recycled or composted. So we set up a more elaborate system for our recycling and some really cool things happened…
One of the main factors for increasing recycling is the education about what CAN and CANNOT be recycled. For instance our office is in one city, but our employees live in almost 10 different surrounding cities with different rules on what goes into the recycling. So we set up posters at each of our recycling stations outlining what goes into recycling and into trash.* Note it is important to contact your waste/recycling hauler or city to get a list of what can and cannot be recycled in your area.
Each employee also began taking direct responsibility for disposing of their own recyclable goods and trash. This gave employees more ownership of their waste ensuring that it was disposed of in the right manner.
Since we are recycling more we were able to change over one of our trash pick ups to a recycling pick up which also saves the company $100 a month.
Additionally we noticed that there are a number of random materials that cannot be recycled through our local waste hauler, but we found an alternate provider, so we separate these materials in our warehouse recycling center. This includes electronics, batteries, cell phones, tyvek and other soft plastics.
While composting to reduce the amount of garbage that leaves our office is the primary goal, it also brings so many benefits of improving soil quality and healthy productive plants.
Our city does not offer industrial composting pick up so we found a small piece of land next to our recycling dumpster where we could set up a household composter. Then we set up smaller bins in each of our kitchens where everyone can drop off their compostable waste, it is then collected and dumped in the larger composter outside. In addition there are a couple of us who bring in our yard waste to balance out the materials in the compost.
We found an excellent reference guide for composting and we recommend that you check it out. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant & Deborah L. Martin.
We look to ourselves and our consumers to be advocates of sustainability through the purchases we make. If we continue to buy recycled and sustainable products we increase the market for those products which ensures their sustainability as a product. For instance, by purchasing recycled paper we are ensuring that there is a market for the paper we put into our recycling stream. Obviously sustainable products have a less negative impact on the environment and we like that.
Our commitment to Responsible Forest Products
In an effort to do the right thing, prAna is committed to conserve, protect and restore natural resources.
As a cornerstone of that commitment, prAna will strive to support and promote the development of markets for environmentally responsible forest products. Therefore prAna will manage our forest products purchases to ensure endangered forest protection that supports lasting solutions in our remaining global forest.
prAna will achieve the goals of this policy through a step by step process of continuous improvement in our purchasing practices, including paper, textiles made from dissolving pulp like rayon, lyocell etc. and other forest products.
To learn more about what we have done and our goals please read our Forest Products Initiative.
prAna has partnered with environmental not-for-profit Canopy to further lasting solutions in our world’s remaining ancient and endangered forests through our fabric choices. Canopy works collaboratively with over 700 companies including Sprint, Random House, Scholastic and the Lonely Planet to protect forests, species and our climate. You can join in at www.canopystyle.org.
Five main areas that we looked at to establish guidelines for purchasing were – Office Paper, Office Electronics, Cleaners, General Office Supplies, and Furniture.
TOOLS / LEARN
1. Procurement Guidelines (PDF) – Sharing our purchasing policy is one way to help inspire and educate other businesses and entities. This PDF file lists our purchasing guidelines.
2. prAna’s Forest Resources Initiative (PDF) – This document outline’s prAna’s policies and goals towards ensuring responsible forest products purchases.