Standard Insurance Company recently earned the City of Portland’s Sustainability at Work gold workplace certification in recognition of its commitment to sustainable practices at its home offices in Portland, OR.
“While many of us reduce, reuse, and recycle at home, implementing sustainable practices in the workplace is a critical component of sustainability,” said Bob Speltz, senior director of Community Relations at The Standard and sponsor of the Green Team. “I’m honored to work at a company that acts upon its commitments to the community and our environment.”
Sustainability at Work offers three levels of certification to recognize a business’s positive effect on the environment and community. Certified applicants are evaluated on more than 70 factors related to their environmentally friendly practices in the areas of recycling/reuse, employee engagement, transportation, energy, water, and community engagement. Gold certificate recipients must meet a minimum of 45 practices to qualify.
Among The Standard’s practices recognized by Sustainability at Work in awarding the gold certification were:
- Recycling: Recycling bins are visible, located at multiple locations on every floor of The Standard’s downtown offices and employee education is provided. Unused or outdated electronic devices are donated for reuse or, when necessary, properly recycled.
- Employee Engagement: The Green Team, one of The Standard’s largest employee resource groups, is supported by management; sustainability practices are communicated to customers and stakeholders; employee feedback and suggestions are solicited and acted upon where feasible.
- Energy: Renewable energy is purchased for a portion of electricity use; computers, computer monitors and printers are set to sleep after inactivity; linear lighting uses LED bulbs.
- Paper: Copier/printer paper contains at least 30% recycled content; centralized printers are used; paperless workflow alternatives are used whenever possible.
- Water: Restrooms use low-flow faucets and shower heads. Most of the landscaping is native and drought tolerant.
- Active Transportation: Nearly 60% of The Standard’s 2,000 Portland employees walk, bike, carpool, or take transit as their primary commute method; subsidies and reimbursement are offered to employees who use public transit or carpool to work; sheltered, secure bike parking is available for employees.
- Community Engagement: Sponsorship, foundation grants, and in-kind services are donated to community organizations; employees receive paid time off to volunteer in the community; employees serve in various community leadership roles; a formal policy promotes contracting with women and minority-owned businesses.
The City of Portland formed Sustainability at Work in 2007 as a solution for businesses who want to improve their environmental practices. The program’s services have been informed by national and local research, input from hundreds of local businesses, and by the technical expertise of its partners. Since its launch, the program has helped thousands of Portland businesses advance green initiatives in the workplace—from small start-ups and nonprofits to large corporations.