Sustainability Team

Many companies have a Green Team: Typically this consists of a group of employees who lead initiatives in the workplace to reduce the company’s environmental impact. But at AET Group we do things a little differently.

We recently decided that “Green” was too narrow of word to describe the work that our Green Team wanted to do. Our mission encompasses a more holistic or “triple bottom line” definition of sustainability that includes not only “green” environmental goals, but also the social and financial aspects. In order to have true sustainability we need to look at:

  • Environmental: how our company’s operations are affecting the biophysical environment
  • Social: the welfare of people working in our company and in the broader communities we work in
  • Financial: integrating our social and environmental responsibilities into a business with long-term and sustainable profitability.

We have changed our name to the Sustainability Team to reflect these ideas. Another important difference between our Sustainability Team and many Green Teams is the involvement of upper management. Our CEO is a member of the Sustainability Team and attends our regular meetings. This allows faster decision making and action, especially when the initiatives involve financial investment or allocation of company resources. Together, the upper management representative and employees can develop company policies and projects that are realistic and effective.

To guide AET Group’s path towards holistic sustainability, we recently enlisted the support of an external sustainability consultant and completed a “S-CORE assessment”. This allowed us to take an honest and sometimes challenging look at which aspects of sustainability our company was excelling at and where there was a need for improvement.

Some of the projects the Sustainability Team has completed include:

  • Significantly reduced the use of paper towels in the staff washrooms by providing re-usable cloth towels. Employees are encouraged to keep a towel at their desk and re-use it to reduce energy/water consumption from laundry
  • Organized an AET Earth Day event where staff planted a garden with native species for the office entrance
  • Produced a Telecommuting Policy that will enable staff to work from home and reduce emissions from commuting
  • Developed Printing and Water Conservation policies
  • Completed a chemical inventory of our office and workplaces to identify potential hazards
  • Consulting with upper management to provide input on green features for the new office addition
  • Donated trees to the City of Kitchener’s 2014 Earth Day Event at Huron Park. AET staff also volunteered to plant the trees

 

Some of the ongoing/upcoming projects the Sustainability Team is involved in include:

  • Providing information about ways to reduce paper use in the office
  • Participating in the “Green Team Exchange”; we’re collaborating with other Green Teams in the Regional Carbon Initiative (RCI) to share ideas and learn from others’ experience
  • Leading the data gathering and carbon accounting for annual GHG reporting through the RCI
  • Releasing a quarterly newsletter to staff to keep them informed on completed and upcoming initiatives