crop_sm_SMSpicAs our team worked to publish our 2014 sustainability report, we realized that a lot has changed in the past year including our new Denver office and our growing team – factors that impact our organization’s sustainability performance, and goals. Thus, in the first quarter of 2015, our team worked to re-evaluate, retool and recommit to our sustainability goals and management practices. This was no easy feat – we continue to explore ways to evolve our systems and right-size our efforts, and want to share some of the adjustments we are making and lessons learned through this retooling process.

Finding Focus and Renewed Objectives

Our sustainability guiding principles helped us navigate the process of finding focus and renewing our commitment to organizational sustainability. These principles include the following:

  • Right Aim. We will authentically check our purpose and plans as we pursue sustainability.
  • Attention. We will give sustainability the attention and resources needed to meet our plans.
  • Conviction. We are confident that with passion and fervor we will attain our vision despite day-to-day realities and barriers that may exist.
  • Collaboration. We recognize sustainability as a highly complex goal that requires a collaborative approach.

We quickly realized that we needed to give our sustainability intentions some direct attention – it  was clear that some of our team members were not familiar with our intended practices or goals, and that some of our sustainability goals were not in perfect alignment with other Brendle Group strategic initiatives. One example of this misalignment is that many of our goals were established in 2011 assuming minimal company growth – but in the past year, we have grown and expanded both in terms of number of employees, and with a second office location.

So, rather than abandon our initial goals, we looked into whether or not we were on a pathway towards achieving them, identifying new pathways to get us there, as well as refinements to make some goals more applicable and meaningful. This also led to the refinement of some of our performance metrics to make them more dynamic and related to our growth trends. For example, we are looking to monitor our transportation and waste metrics on a per employee basis, in addition to overall company totals.

Finding New Champions

Our growing team presented the opportunity to reevaluate our current sustainability-related organizational capacity and to organize ourselves into topic-based teams based on our professional and personal interests. We identified champions to lead each team (energy, water, transportation, waste, and social), then established a structure and defined roles to ensure that our efforts would be coordinated with each other and our leadership team.

Making Sustainability Fun, Meaningful and Routine

Finally, through our retooling efforts, we recognized that critical elements in sustaining our commitment to sustainability include making our sustainability initiatives interesting, actionable, and applicable to our daily practices so that we can establish routines and feel that we are making positive contributions to our lifestyles, workplaces, and communities.

Looking forward to the rest of 2015 and beyond, our teams are looking at potential reward and incentive structures – both for meeting our company sustainability goals, as well as for each individual’s contributions towards achieving them. We also plan to simply have more fun through our sustainability initiatives – using them to build relationships amongst our team, and with our friends, neighbors, and clients as we (re)learn to walk the sustainability talk together.