Kasey Krifka, The Climate Trust
July 26, 2016
As an environmental nonprofit, The Climate Trust takes the sustainability of its office and operations seriously. More than two years ago, The Trust convened an organizational “Green Team,” whose mission it is to implement policy, systems, and structure to reduce the environmental impact of The Trust’s operations. Since that time, the group has empowered staff to reduce their impact at the office, at home, and everywhere in between.
In addition to coordinating team participation in annual events that benefit the environment and our staff’s health, such as the Bike More Challenge and EcoChallenge, The Trust also offsets its annual emissions. In 2015, we offset 40 tons of emissions—covering staff travel and our electricity usage—by retiring carbon credits from the Farm Power Tillamook Project in our portfolio. The Trust opted to offset: 21,920 air miles, 2,842 car miles, and 24,069 kWH electricity (down from over 31,000 kWh in 2014).
In 2016, our small, but mighty team increased participation for the Bike More Challenge from 6 to 8 people—that’s 89% of eligible staff that joined in! Our team biked a collective 903 miles in May, preventing the emission of 295 kg CO2. This is way up from last year, when we came in at 671 miles. Our team was excited to show people in Oregon how easy and enjoyable riding can be; a practice the majority of staff keep up year-round.
Each year, team members also take part in the EcoChallenge event. This is an opportunity to change behaviors and habits. For two weeks Climate Trust staff are challenged to change one habit for the betterment of their health and/or the planet. Each person chooses their challenge, and the digital platform connects participants with other EcoChallengers. Collectively participants prove that small actions can add up to real change.
Other initiatives by the Green Team include implementing energy saving tactics, such as putting all computers to sleep in the evening and shutting off monitors. The Trust exclusively uses rechargeable batteries, and has also populated the entire office with plants that beautify the space and improve air quality. The entire team uses the kitchen compost pail, despite the City not making bins available to offices. Staff members take the initiative to cart compost home on their bicycles (or via public transit) to their own residential bins.
The Trust believes in giving back to the community, and giving back to its own staff through activities that inspire exploration of the outdoors and all that our beautiful city has to offer. We encourage our staff to volunteer as a group on ‘staff volunteer days,’ and individually through use of paid volunteer hours to make a difference for local organizations. Whether it’s cleaning up bikes for children in need, leading beautification projects, or sitting on a nonprofit board, we strive to make an impact and provide a value to Portland and beyond.
The Trust’s efforts towards a more positive and green organization have been rewarded in 2016 with a space among the Top 100 Green Workplaces in Oregon by Oregon Business Magazine.
Starting in August, The Trust’s Green Team will be taking on new challenges related to the general health and wellness of our staff. Pursuit of green activities will continue, while adding new initiatives that get our team moving around and feeling empowered to live healthy!
Image credit: Flickr/Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington