You’ve probably heard the phrase, “walk the walk” before. A mutation of the phrase, “she talks the talk, but she doesn’t walk the walk,” meaning that she does not act in a way that aligns with the things she says. To walk the walk means to backup your opinions with action. In relation to environmental sustainability, it means doing more than slapping a green leaf on your package and referring to it as “natural.” At OffLeash Communications we believe it means grounding each business decision we make in what is ultimately best for our planet (cue Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World”). After all, we are a Denver-based, dog-owning, all-female agency who spends their weekends enjoying everything that Colorado has to offer; does it really surprise you we are environmentalists?
We know that the environmentally sustainable drum beat is not new, but we do have a unique understanding of how small companies can make small changes to support sustainability. Unlike larger companies who simply offset waste with carbon credits and corporate giving, smaller (scrappier) companies rely on everyday decision-making to ensure overall environmental responsibility. We’ve pulled together a few of the best ways OffLeash Communications “walks the walk” in the hope you will be inspired to do the same, as well as share your (way better) ideas with us!
- The Where: For particularly small companies, renting shared workspace is a low impact way to get out of the house and avoid property investments. If you do buy space in a building, be mindful of its building materials, heating and cooling and waste practices before committing. OffLeash Communications feels pretty smug to check off both boxes in that our office is located in a shared workspace known for its environmentally friendly design. Our refurbished warehouse space features New Orleans street lamps recovered after Hurricane Katrina, a staircase from the original Crocs™ factory in Niwot, CO and plexiglass panes once surrounding the hockey rink at the old Denver Colosseum. (You just can’t make this stuff up.)
- Talk About It: Keep a bullet on the weekly team meeting agenda to field new ideas and discuss how existing efforts are working. If it is the first time you have discussed the topic as a team, schedule a kick-off meeting first to establish a company point of view, along with achievable goals and action items.
- Note: No matter how big or small the scope of the outcome of the discussion, feel fantastic for having this conversation at all!
- The Day-to-Day: Think about the flow of your employees’ day and try to identify where resources are used.
- To and From: Do some employees have long commutes? Consider if they can work remotely a few days a week? Are there days in the year the full staff can work from home?
- Lunch: Provide a set of plates and utensils from Goodwill instead of providing a disposable option. The water from dishes will have less impact than the daily waste. If you’re providing treats, find a hygienic way to avoid pre-packed goodies. Invest in a filtered water cooler and glassware, instead of wasteful bottled water.
- Tangible resources: If you can opt to use recycled paper products and green cleaning solutions. Most importantly, implement practices and processes that limit paper use as much as possible. Google Drive is a wonderful free option to wrangle shared documents, presentations and agendas. And of course, recycle as many tangible waste items possible.
- Be In Good Company: Work with people who also “walk the walk”. We are lucky to partner with and represent amazing pet brands that share our attitude towards sustainable business practices. We are also honored to be on the Board of Directors of the Pet Sustainability Coalition, serving alongside innovative leaders who understand the impact sustainable businesses can have on the future of our industry and our world.
- Additional Ideas
- Quantify It: Keep a log and weigh your trash. It sounds strange, but it’s actually a number that is popping up on more and more annual reports. Once there is a number to benchmark against, employees can get creative with low-waste solutions to decrease the number over time.
- Compost: Many urban neighborhoods have city-sponsored composting. Check Google to see if where you work will provide a composting receptacle and pick-up weekly.
For more ideas on how to create a more sustainable model for your pet business, visit the Pet Sustainability Coalition’s website for tools, resources and a sustainability assessment.