Happy Earth Day 2022
Happy Earth Day! At Citadel EHS our employee-owners know that making a difference in our communities, improving health and safety standards, and reducing our environmental impacts are central to our core business strategy. We are committed to creating a sustainable company for the long term and embedding sustainability factors into the core operations of Citadel’s business. As individuals and as a company, we take volunteering in our communities in ways that benefit our environment seriously–on Earth Day and every day!
This Earth Day brings a random April shower, climate doom and gloom, new ESG and climate disclosure standards and demand, and also some amazing nature shows and documentaries. The access to information we have these days can be daunting and hard to navigate. The best advice that can be shared is a tidbit from Ravi Bajaj’s (our ESG and Sustainability Practice Leader) 96-year-old grandfather-in-law, who tells us his grandfather’s adage was “do the best you can every day.” This general mantra can help us focus on small improvements over time that add up.
When Citadel kicked off our LEED Platinum HQ office in Glendale, the task was much easier to define than in today’s world. That marked the start of Citadel’s Green Promise, and a handful of singular metrics that were prioritized for our space, such as net zero energy, drove the project to be the first LEED Platinum space in the City of Glendale. If we were to do this again today, we’d have even more decisions to make, around indoor environmental quality, healthier materials, and more. Equally important is maintaining our program and improving it over time.
As we turn our gaze inwards on what we can do in honor of Earth Day, and work to update our Green Promise this year, here are a few tips that we’d like to share.
As mentioned, we can only occasionally shoot for the moon. It’s not every day that we build a new space. So, on the daily we can look at our operations and strive to make small improvements. As we continue our return to the office, we have an opportunity to look at our daily office practices with fresher eyes. Let’s not forget about small strategies such as printing on both sides, wearing a sweater instead of using a space heater, or motion sensors for common area lighting where applicable! These steps add up, and grow into comprehensive programs like our new green promise.
Find Natural Products
The discussion on Earth Day inevitably comes to the human impact on the environment and the waste we leave behind. When we have to purchase new goods, function should always come first, no argument there. However, for certain items, take a company polo for example, natural materials can have a reduced impact all along the supply chain. Cotton may use water and other inputs to grow, however no plastic waste is generated. With polyester fabrics, polyester fibers (plastics) are washed away in the laundry. Where water-proofing or moisture-wicking is needed, poly fibers provide a benefit with a specific function. But in all other cases a natural product option exists and can be prioritized. This strategy can also apply to paper product choices, and many other areas of daily or ongoing operations.
Stick to your values
Earth Day is all about how we value the planet we live on. Sticking to our values is how we can best respond to today’s complex world. Is it energy or carbon emissions that takes your attention? Or is it healthier materials, durability, fair labor? When we have clear priorities and values that integrate across our practices, it makes it easier to move forward. Simply don’t allow other options if they don’t align with your values or priorities. This feeds into the idea noted above, about the importance of small improvements. Once we meet our highest priority we can layer others on top.
Stick to your metrics
This last strategy applies to everything we do at Citadel. “What you don’t measure you can’t manage.” By measuring key indicators across our sustainability and ESG practices, we can paint a picture of the long-term impact of our small improvements. We can measure against our priorities and values and measure our performance alongside business health. This might be energy consumption as a whole, or as simple as how many of our lights are LEDs. It could be counting water bottles used in our offices, or as complex as counting Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions.
Wherever you are on your ESG and sustainability journey – Earth Day is a reminder that we live amongst amazing natural capital, and our planet’s ecosystems let us thrive. We can pause and enjoy Earth’s wonders, and hopefully some of these tips can help us all move the needle from doing less bad on our planet, to doing more good. Happy Earth Day!