Welcome to our 2022 Impact Report
Accelerating equitable solutions to the climate crisis. It’s a big mission – but it’s Brendle Group’s North Star as we navigate complex sustainability challenges. Through hard work and collaboration across the Brendle Group team and our clients, we’re making meaningful progress on this mission. Read on to learn about our 2022 impact.
More than the Bottom Line
Brendle Group proudly completed B Corp certification and became a Public Benefits Corporation (PBC), reinforcing our commitment to sustainability not only with our clients, community, and team but also through our governance. The B Corp Assessment Score section below provides more information about our score.
Shaping Our Impact and Responding to a Dynamic Workplace
We’re deepening our expertise in critical impact services while strengthening our commitment to reducing our impact. Explore how we’re Shaping Our Impact in the section below.
Minimizing our Footprint
We’re leaders in sustainability and are committed to embodying these principles at our Fort Collins headquarters. Our award-winning building serves as a test bed for new innovations in sustainable design and behavior. Explore Brendle Group’s 2022 Operational Footprint in the section below.
Delivering Innovative Solutions
Client work is the primary means for progressing our mission. Brendle Group delivers impactful work at the intersections of decarbonization, climate resilience, inclusivity, and a just and green economy. The three projects sprinkled throughout this report each spotlight a key innovation – Equity-Centered Planning, Roadmapping Net Zero Carbon Emissions, and Applying Water Smart Metrics.
Looking to the Future
In 2023, we’ll capitalize on innovative technologies to accelerate solutions, strengthening our B Corp ecosystem, and expand our capabilities in critical service offerings through new team member recruitment. Learn more about Big Things Coming in 2023 at the end of this report.
What is B Corp Certification
B Corps are for-profit, mission-driven companies that seek to balance purpose and profit while boldly reimagining the role that business plays in society. Certified B Corps meet B Lab’s high standards for social and environmental impact, making a clear commitment to stakeholder governance, and demonstrating accountability and transparency – creating value across five key areas: governance, workers, customers, community, and the environment. Today there are over 5,000 Certified B Corporations in more than 80 countries across more than 150 industries, and we are proud to join their ranks!
What is B Lab?
B Lab is a non-profit that measures a company’s social and environmental performance against the standards of the B Impact Assessment. The certification process looks at a business as a whole and examines how it creates value across five key areas: governance, workers, customers, community, and the environment. To become certified, a company must meet – and continue to uphold – high standards for transparency, accountability, and social and environmental performance.
“Brendle Group operations matter because they ensure our customers have an enjoyable and smooth experience in doing business with us, with the added peace of mind that we walk the talk on sustainability. We’re not adding to the carbon footprint of their supply chain and our values are aligned with theirs.”
2022 Project Highlight: Equity-Centered Planning
“Brendle Group did an excellent job of facilitating the development of our Climate Protection & Resiliency Plan. They brought on a locally based change management consultant and then worked with City staff to hire Climate Justice Workers and a Climate Intern to center uniquely Kansas City based perspectives, challenges, and solutions. Their approach to working with city staff, stakeholders, and community was instrumental in building an equity-centered roadmap to reach our goal of climate neutrality by 2040.”
Andy Savastino, Chief Environmental Officer Read more
Public Benefits Corporation
We have formalized our Colorado corporate standing putting social impact directly into governance of the company. While our status as a PBC will not change our operations significantly, the change solidifies our commitment to balancing financial return with our social and environmental impact.
We are working continuously to improve our employee experience. In 2022 we completed a deep evaluation of job classifications to align salaries with market forces, ensure unbiased positioning, and guarantee living wages. We also reorganized our team structure to provide more opportunities for employee growth and professional development as well as adding to our work-life benefits to support hybrid and remote work opportunities
Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI)
We are actively engaged in JEDI initiatives both internally as well as leading with equity in our project work. We incorporate trainings and learnings into our operations including our hiring process, benefits, and partner selection. We also complete an annual Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) assessment. The inclusion of these initiatives has provided foundational opportunities for us to bring previously excluded stakeholders and disproportionately impacted communities to the table with an active and meaningful voice.
Charitable and In-kind Giving
We strive to support our communities through activities such as serving on boards, doing volunteer work, and charitable giving. We sponsored the Society of Women Engineers’ Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day and Colorado State University’s Engineers Without Borders Gala. We also participated in Colorado Gives Day through individual and corporate matched donations to Sproutin’ Up, Latino Leadership Initiative, and Women’s Global Empowerment Fund.
Our teams are rapidly advancing our ability to provide meaningful data analytics and mapping to provide new and valuable insights that support a range of projects. This gives us insight into equitable solutions to climate problems at different scales.
Electric Transportation and Building Solutions
We believe electrification is an essential carbon reduction strategy for communities and utilities. Brendle Group projects tackle local and regional efforts that plan and implement policies and practices that drive electrification.
Climate migration continues to be an important piece of the puzzle in climate justice, racial equity, and community resilience. Brendle Group and Utah Clean Energy hosted a webinar to discuss climate change and migration.
“Brendle Group’s dynamic hybrid work policy has let me shift my mindset from work-life balance to work-life integration, allowing me to be a more present wife and mother and support our clients better. For example, this week I am supporting a client evening meeting (after family dinner) from my home office and then taking my son to swim class the next day. This lets me support our clients when it is most important while not missing out at home.”
2022 Project Highlight: Roadmap for Net Zero Carbon Emissions
“Taos Ski Valley has worked with Brendle Group on its sustainability efforts since 2014. Their expertise and guidance give us practical advice for advancing initiatives to meet our goals.”
Dawn Boulware, Vice President of Social & Environmental Responsibility Read more
It was another unique year in terms of how we utilize our facilities compared to our operations pre-pandemic. Brendle Group now operates using a hybrid work environment and video conferencing for coordinating remotely with clients and other team members. Below, we compare our 2022 emissions to 2021 data as well as to pre-pandemic operations – using 2019 data to benchmark this year’s performance in the context of previous data. Our overall GHG emissions are higher than last year primarily due to an increase in business travel and employee commuting but still significantly less than pre-pandemic as we embraced a more fully hybrid model.
Note, waste and water are not significant contributors to Brendle Group’s GHG emissions. Our emissions do not include electricity grid emissions because our electricity is purchased through the City of Fort Collins Utilities Green Energy Program providing 100% renewable electricity to our office.
Electricity usage is higher than pre-pandemic numbers due to an increase in number of staff members, consumption from computer infrastructure including servers and audio visual equipment to support remote work, and usage of our onsite electric vehicle (EV) chargers. We provide free EV charging as a benefit to our employees and the community. Weather-related factors also contributed to increased electricity because our heat pumps and air conditioning ran more frequently.
Total Energy Use Intensity
Total Energy Use Intensity (EUI) is slightly higher than last year with more staff members returning to the office. However, compared to peer buildings (which range from 41-80 kBtu/ft2), it remains very low.
Our waste numbers, while immaterial to our emissions, remain constant. However, this new constant is higher than pre-covid as we continue to utilize more single use paper products and cleaning supplies.
Emissions from transportation are increasing year over year as we see more employees commuting to the office and more in-person business travel. However, our total transportation emissions are approximately 56% of pre-COVID levels which reflects our new hybrid work environment.
Indoor water use has been increasing annually since 2020 but similar to transportation reflects about 60% of pre-COVID numbers as we embrace hybrid work benefits.
“Smooth Brendle Group operations allow our team to focus on innovation and creativity in projects.”
2022 Project Highlight: Applying Water Smart Metrics
“We have worked with Brendle Group on several projects involving the complex interrelationship between water resource management and land use planning. Brendle Group’s impeccable project management skills and ability to think strategically have yielded high-quality resources to assist Colorado communities in measuring and tracking their progress toward water resilience.”
Waverly Klaw, Director for Resilient Communities and Watersheds Read more
We’re using our B Corp certification learnings and the B Corp community to focus on key improvements to tracking our environmental and social impact, improving our operational practices, and infusing JEDI into all aspects of our business. A few of our 2023 priorities include updating procurement processes to support local and historically disproportionally impacted suppliers, adjusting how we account and measure impact in the delivery of our services, updating governance practices, and continuing to enhance recruitment and HR practices and policies.
Brendle Group is continuing our organizational design journey focusing on employee well-being and strengthening our technical and management capacity and resiliency. In 2023, we’re welcoming new team members as well as incorporating change management skills and learnings into our operations, projects, and programs.
New team roles are increasing disciplinary team’s technical skills, capacity, and resilience. We believe interdisciplinary teams enhance our ability to address complex challenges at the intersections of climate, energy, water, and people. Deepening our mapping capabilities illuminates areas disproportionately impacted by climate change, highlights areas most in need of EV charging infrastructure, and spotlights regions most at risk during extreme weather events. Expanding our use of innovative tools for remote engagement empowers hard to reach community members, streamlines data processing to make client budgets go further, and brings complex data to life through interactive visualization and near real-time processing. These are just a few examples of innovations made possible through our unique interdisciplinary approach.
We use a three-year strategic planning cycle to prioritize efforts that support our company purpose – to apply our engineering and consulting talents to create lasting impacts that sustain and inspire our communities and our world. We’re excited to update our strategic plan for 2024-2026, to ensure that Brendle Group continues delivering leading-edge services for our clients and within our operations. We’ll leverage past successes that scale impact, focus on solutions to emerging critical problems, and identify emerging opportunities that continue evolving our ability to offer clients thought leadership and experienced-based solutions.