Greening Sierra Club Canada
As an environmental organization, we find it crucial to walk the talk that we promote to individuals, industry and government every day.
In every decision we make, from our morning coffee, to travel planning we try and reduce our organizational footprint as much as possible.
How we do it:
Travel to work
We encourage our staff to opt for sustainable options to get to work each morning. We have many cyclists, walkers and transit users including SCC Foundation Executive Director, Stephen Hazell, who can be seen cycling to work almost year round. We also have some staff work from home on occasion or even most of the time.
Travel for work
Although we use teleconferencing and web-conferencing whenever possible, some times you need to leave the office and spend some time face to face discuss issues and working towards solutions. When we must travel, we choose the train whenever possible, or try to carpool with other colleagues. If air travel is the only option, we offset our flights.
We try to billet people at face-to-face meetings and conferences, rather than using commercial properties.
All printing is done on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, and we try to limit the paper used. We print documents double-sided as much as possible. We keep our pile of paper that has been printed on one-side to reuse the other side.
Our envelopes re-use paper from old maps.
When we’re out of the office, we say “No thank you” if people offer us flyers, brochures, printed pages etc. that we have not asked for. Instead, we request their web address and look up their information if we want to.
Food and Drink
Like most Canadians, we start our work day with a cup of coffee or tea. Ensuring that this daily routine is sustainable can have a big impact over the course of your professional life! At Sierra Club we choose to only use fairly-traded, organic coffee and teas, and source organic milk and cream.
We have a kettle with an automatic shut-off, to avoid the use of unnecessary electricity.
Instead of ordering catering, which often includes much more waste, and food that is not organic or local, we opt for staff potlucks whenever we’re planning a staff event. We have a lot of chefs in the office and we love to eat their latest creations!
If we must have catering for a meeting or conference, we order fair-trade, organic and locally-grown food as much as possible.
In the office we never leave a light, computer, photocopier or other device running when not in use. As with most offices we rely on our computers for almost everything we do, so we made the conscious effort to switch front desktops to laptops for campaigners on the move and from CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors to LCD (liquid crystal display) monitors this year. This represents a reduction of almost two tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions!
We only have used furniture, and we recycle our used computers.
Recycling / Composting
We collect our compost each week and our Office Manager, who is known for her gardening skills, takes the waste home each week. All those coffee grounds add up!
Although the tenants in our building have limited recycling options (paper only), staff members at Sierra Club of Canada have pulled together to coordinate the recycling of all other recyclable materials and we bring them home to be included in our residential blue box program.
Wanting to take the plunge to green your office? Check out our Atlantic Canada Chapter’s Green Audit Guide.