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Sustainability Comes in Small Steps

As people and societies become more aware of our impact on the planet, I hear an increasing desire to “Go green!”. People often say this as though there is a special formula for going green, and as if it means the same thing to everyone. Is there a magic formula for going green, and does it really look the same for everyone?

The answer is definitely not! Companies can become more sustainable and socially responsible in a lot of different ways and to different degrees. Some companies, such as Subaru Corporation have pulled out all the stops and invested significant amounts of time and money in order to be more sustainable. They have achieved zero-emission factory status by reducing and reusing waste generated in the manufacturing process, utilizing more energy efficient technologies, and lowering water consumption. However, we can’t all be Subaru, and we don’t all have the resources and time to make that level of investment.

However, that does not mean that we can’t all contribute! There are so many ways that organizations with a low sustainability budget can make an impact. Practices such as: unplugging technology at the end of the day, printing on both sides of the paper, installing solar panels, using low flush toilets, allowing employees to work remotely, email more and print less or running an energy audit to get feedback on what else you can do. Even if it’s as simple as replacing all your water bottles with water fountains, it’s important to find ways that you can leave your impact. In the long run, it not only helps reduce your impact environmentally, but it's also attractive to job seekers and helps retain talented individuals that believe in making a difference.

Villanova’s Human Resource Development Department’s Annual Networking Reception (ANR) this year will be highlighting the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR). We will be featuring the work of Grady Lee, founder of the Give2Get Corporation, and the way he helps organizations make their own socially responsible choices. To emphasize the importance of CSR and sustainability, we will be implementing a variety of environmentally conscious measures to ensure a low impact for the event.

VUSHRM will be at the forefront of these efforts. They will be providing a shuttle service to facilitate transportation from the local train station to the event venue, as well as creating digital programs to reduce paper and ink consumption, using non-disposable dish wear, and reusing name tags from the previous year. In these ways, we and our few hundred guests, are able to make an impact.

While it is fantastic when organizations have the resources and ability to invest in sustainable measures in a big way, that is definitely not the only option. There is no single path towards going green, and it can mean something a little different to each organization. We hope you all join us this year at our ANR to make an impact with us and get inspired on how you and your organizations can become more socially responsible and go green in your own way!


Hannah Parker Carver is Graduate Assistant in the Graduate HRD program at Villanova University. She serves as the Vice President of Membership and Development for VUSHRM. Learn more about her here!

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