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Development of Sustainability Program


Phase I: Different Definitions of Sustainability

Monday, October 11, 2021  by qrelihan

   As Phase I of the Sustainability Program continues to progress, I am learning that everyone's understanding of how sustainability fits into the workplace are different. Some are going to focus on the financial aspects of implementing a sustainability program while others will be more concerned with the impact the program will have on the environment & society. Neither party is wrong, because in today's world a business needs to be able to make money and be environmentally friendly to be sustainable.

   Sustainability is developing business operations that will stand the test of time and generate profit or savings for a company. However, sustainability is also being aware of the impact that your daily business operations have on the environment and natural resources. In fact, companies cannot be sustainable unless they responsibly manage the financial and environmental aspects of their day-to-day operations. This is because without the environment and natural resources there are no products or services that can be produced or provided. If there is no way to make products or provide services, then a company is not making money and will likely go out of business.

   Responsibility, awareness, and accountability play a large role in creating a robust sustainability program that is successful at addressing every facet of a business plan. The goal of the sustainability program at MER is to find ways to be financially & environmentally sustainable.   From now on when you think of what it means to be a sustainable company, I want you to not only think of the impacts its operations have on the environment, but I also encourage you to think of it as efficient ways to generate profits or savings. 

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Phase I: Research & Data Gathering

Tuesday, August 31, 2021  by qrelihan

Global Warming. Climate Change. Eco-friendly. Green. Sustainability.

All the words above are often referred to as buzzwords rather than calls to action.  However, our goal is for Sustainability at MER to be synonymous with action and commitment.  Therefore, our plan of attack for developing this program is to identify feasible and effective targets for the company to meet.  To determine these benchmarks goals, a great deal of research and data gathering must be done to identify areas in need of improvement.  

For that reason, Phase I of the Sustainability Program is going to involve research and data collection. This includes identifying what business operations and office activities contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions.  So far it has been determined that fleet fuel emissions, waste disposal methods, recycling and energy use are the top contributors.  Therefore, the next steps include gathering data on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that came from each of the top contributors.  

Among some of the metrics that have been calculated are idle time, waste transported to landfills, recycling amenities and the purchasing of sustainable paper goods.  This information will be collected for each office, starting with the Corporate Headquarters in Randolph, MA.  The objective of collecting this data is to determine benchmark goals with timelines for each of them to be completed by.  Some of the information can be found by using Excel sheets while others require input from employees and managers.  Therefore, to gain a basic understanding of what environmentally sustainable operations and activities each office has, a survey was sent out to the office managers asking them to answer a few questions.  

The results of this survey revealed that there are many small initiatives that if implemented, could make the Sustainability Program stronger and more robust.  For instance, something as simple as making sure that all offices have recycling bins can make a big difference in the amount of waste that the office sends to landfills. Since waste disposal methods is one of the top contributors of greenhouse gases, any waste that can be diverted from landfills is a step in the right direction.

Phase I will be ongoing since it requires monthly tracking and recording of different metrics.  However, once we have base numbers for top contributors, the next Phase II: Planning & Development can start.  

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Introduction to the Blog

Wednesday, August 11, 2021  by qrelihan

My name is Quinn Relihan, and I was brought on in April of 2021 as an Environmental & Sustainability Research Analyst.  I have been tasked to help further develop the company’s Environmental Sustainability Program by identifying ways the company can become greener.  The four phases of the program are tracking and data gathering, planning & development, engagement & education, and record keeping & communication. These blogs will be posted on a regular basis as I will continue to document and share this process with all of you. 

My plan is to organize my posts into three different categories:

  1. The process of implementing different phases of the Sustainability Program 
  2. Actions that employees can take to be more eco-friendly 
  3. News stories that are relevant to the goals of our sustainability program 

Therefore, if you have any ideas, comments, questions, or concerns about the sustainability program, I encourage you to reach out to me at qrelihan@moranenvironmental.com

 

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If you have a story that you want to share reach out to Quinn Relihan at qrelihan@moranenvironmental.com to be featured on the blog

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