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Development of Sustainability Program

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Green Business Bureau

Monday, May 16, 2022  by qrelihan

    In addition to Green Marine, MER LLC has been a member of Green Business Bureau (GBB) since 2019.  Green Business Bureau is a verified entity that provides online solutions to help businesses of all sizes learn, prioritize, manage, and certify green initiatives (GBB 2022).  MER uses Green Business Bureau’s sustainability guides to find ways to strengthen our sustainability program.

    The goal of GBB is to provide cost effective, simple, and achievable solutions for sustainability programs through the use of online tools.  Green Business Bureau has developed the EcoAssessment to help companies identify weak spots in their sustainability programs.  The EcoPlanner takes what the EcoAssessment identified as weak spots and provides solutions that will make companies like MER greener.  Once MER completes the suggested steps to become greener, Green Business Bureau’s EcoScorecard will calculate the company’s score and receive its certification level.  There are four different certification levels that members can be based on the results from the EcoAssessment. The four levels from lowest to highest are, Green Member, Green Aware, Gold and Platinum. 

    For example, purchasing green office supplies can earn a company like MER more points towards a higher certification level.  Since MER has many resource centers across the country, a small change like swapping regular office supplies with greener products can make a big difference.  However, since a lot of the work we do is performed at a job site and not at an office, Green Business Bureau has also suggested that our company chooses at least one day a year to volunteer in local environmental events or clean-ups.  These are just two of the green solutions that MER has taken to the next level with our annual Earth Day clean-ups and a list of green office supplies that is frequently updated. 

    MER has a GBB Gold-level certification and is constantly striving to reach the Platinum level.  Since Green Business Bureau’s certification process is based on the steps we take as a company to become greener, the more tasks and activities we complete, the more points we receive towards a higher certification level. Green Business Bureau understands that strengthening a sustainability program is not one size fits all, therefore the solutions and guidance it provides MER are tailored to the business operations at MER. 

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Green Marine

Monday, May 9, 2022  by qrelihan

    As an Environmental Company, it is important that our sustainability efforts can be supported and verified by an external third party.  That’s where Green Marine comes in, as a voluntary environmental certification program for the North American marine industry.  To receive a Green Marine certification, companies like MER report their annual environmental performance through self-evaluation assessments, these assessments are then reviewed by a verified third party to ensure that what is being reported is accurate. MER is a Partner member of Green Marine which means that it provides services or products to help other Green Marine participants reduce their  companies' environmental impact.  

    In fact, the 14 key performance indicators that Green Marine has each participant report on addresses land, air, and water pollution.  Over the years the KPIs Green Marine has developed are specific to habitats or species in the region where the companies operate.  The goal of Green Marine is to encourage shipowners, ports, terminals, seaway corporations and shipyards in the US and Canada to establish their carbon footprint and then actively take steps to reduce it. Green Marine has participating companies self-report annually so that they can track their progress and see how much their carbon footprint has been reduced from the previous year. 

    The only thing more important than verifying our sustainability and green efforts is to make sure we are doing it with a company that we trust.  Green Marine not only works to find ways for the marine industry to reduce their carbon footprint, but its mission aligns with our company values.  For instance, Green Marine encourages the marine industry to exceed what the laws and regulations mandate that they do to be in compliance.  MER is dedicated to achieving a higher level of performance that goes beyond what is asked and expected of them, just like Green Marine.  By encouraging members of the marine industry to go beyond what is asked of them, Green Marine has cultivated a culture similar to that at MER where personnel care about the well being of the environment and are committed to a higher standard of performance.

 

To learn more about Green Marine, visit their website at: https://green-marine.org/

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Stewardship & Sustainability Report 2021

Wednesday, February 23, 2022  by qrelihan

To learn more about our 2021 Sustainability initiatives and goals for 2022, use the link below to view our 2021 Sustainability Report: 

https://express.adobe.com/page/3MRJx2cs3ZwbO/

 

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Moving Forward with the Sustainability Program 2022

Monday, February 7, 2022  by qrelihan

Moving Forward with the Sustainability Program 2022

Goals for 2022

  • Continuing to find ways to be a more sustainable company and help clients & suppliers do the same
  • Continue to align initiatives with company values and track them
  • Increase employee engagement and education

Stewardship & sustainability report document to come

Keep your eye out for the Stewardship & Sustainability Program Annual Report, it will be published to MER’s website soon, so be on the lookout for this.

It will outline MER’s sustainability goals in greater detail and upcoming volunteering opportunities for events like Earth Day & World Clean-Up Day.

Guest blog contributors

This year, we would like to include more stories and narrative pieces from guest contributors. Please reach out to qrelihan@moranenvironmental.com if you have a story, event, or tips that you would like to share on the Sustainability blog. 

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Reflection on 2021

Monday, December 20, 2021  by qrelihan

Moving forward with the Development & Implementation of the Sustainability Program:

              Before, we can look forward to all the plans and goals set for the Sustainability Program in 2022, I would like to reflect on the steps that have been taken in the past 7-8 months. For the most part, I have spent the past 8 months researching every sustainability related question under the sun.  However, one that I have circled back to many times looked like this, what is the first step in developing a sustainability program?  In fact, I tried many iterations of that same question because I was hoping that somewhere out there was a simple, obvious answer to a very complex question.  What I have discovered is that the answer to that question differs for everyone and it depends on what type of products or services a company provides.  Therefore, many ideas were written down, discussed, and eventually brought to company stakeholders, who were able to provide more insight regarding the feasibility of a particular initiative. 

              One of the most important lessons I learned this past year is that a Sustainability Program will not be built overnight, even if it what needs to be done to create an effective one seems obvious. This may seem like a silly realization, but it is easy to get excited and overly ambitious when you are first starting out.  I knew the basic components of what makes a company environmentally sustainable, however there is a large gap between information gathering and the implementation of information.  For example, before we can work towards lowering our company’s greenhouse gas emissions, we need to identify what business operations generates the most and then monitor those areas for a few months to gain benchmark data. Over the past 7-8 months I have spent a great deal of time collecting and recording data points that I thought would be helpful in determining next steps and setting benchmark goals.  However, what I have realized is some of the data points that I spent months tracking may not be useful to the development of the Sustainability Program.  As frustrating as this may seem, it is also an indication that I am making progress, because I have eliminated some metrics that will not be necessary to the success of the Sustainability Program.

              Therefore, I have outlined some takeaways from this year that I hope to not only refer to but also help others learn from my mistakes.

  1. Not every metric you measure is going to be useful and that is ok
  2. Conversations with company stakeholders are just as important as researching potential sustainability initiatives
  3. Keep up with environmental news stories
  4. Go out and experience what business operations look like firsthand
  5. Make connections in every department of your company since it is important to discuss how an initiative will affect their daily operations
  6. Ask questions
  7. Keep an organized document library to house all your research, data gathering and meeting notes
  8. Have a rough timeline that outlines where you want to be by certain dates

           I have learned a lot about the process of developing and implementing a Sustainability Program this past year.  I fully intend to continue learning and growing so that this time next year I will have an even longer list of takeaways to offer. 

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