Increasingly, companies, non-profit organizations, universities and government agencies are looking to make their worksites more environmentally friendly and with that come the need to make sustainability a core value. After all and according to Ceres (a non-profit leader coalescing organizations that want to tackle the most pressing issues facing the environment), practicing sustainability helps organizations reduce their carbon footprint, require less water and avoid conflicts in their supply chains. It’s natural that business-minded organizations would want to engage in sustainable efforts. The idea that business can make the world a better place sounds like a train anyone can jump on gleefully. According to Wally Hopp, professor of Operations Management at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, positive business practices (and sustainability is one of them) are tactics that enhance the welfare of all stakeholders—that includes customers, employees, shareholders and community members.
At the end of October, North Shore TMA staff attended a sustainability fair at the North Shore Community College in Lynn, MA. We spent the first hour of the morning on “display”—manning a table layered with brochures, banners and promotional material supporting our programs and services. We shared that space in a U-shaped format in the Community College’s gym, with a few rows of chairs set up in the center, where students could sit to listen to a variety of presentations from the companies present. During the second hour, our Outreach Manager, Al Marrone had the opportunity to present to the students about what the NSTMA does, summarizing our mission and explaining why offering commuting options should be the standard at any organization that cares about sustainability.
“At the end of the day, if every single one of you has to worry about how to get to and from school, do you even care if the College recycles or that there are electric hand driers in the bathrooms?” Al asked the students. “If the North Shore Community College joins [the NSTMA], then we will work with the administration and the local government to develop transit opportunities for you between campus and from other major bus and train stops.”
Fortunately for us (and the students), Al’s presentation stuck. Just last week, Al and Andrea Leary, NSTMA Executive Director met with the folks at the North Shore Community College about joining. Al is also working on expanding the NSTMA’s incentive program Green to Work to include a customized solution for students called Green to School. We plan to officially roll out our Green to School program to students at Salem State University (a new member of the NSTMA) early in 2015.
At the NSTMA, the idea is simple. Start with your employees (or students in the case of colleges/universities). Give them options to make their commute easier so they arrive at work (or school) ready to perform. In turn, they will be more productive and will produce more products or enhance a service that will benefit your organization’s customers and boost your bottom line. That will make your shareholders happy, which will make you happy. And from there, you can invest in the community and continue to make your employees happy. It’s goes full circle.
Posted by Courtney Goldberg