How We Walk the Walk
Alta Environmental (Alta) assists clients in complying with environmental policies and regulations, as well as growth and change in their operations with recommendations that incorporate sustainable policies and procedures, equipment, and facilities. In addition to providing environmental and sustainability consulting services to our clients, Alta also strives to implement sustainable policies and procedures in all aspects of our operations. In 2017, Alta formed a Sustainability Task Force to define and expand our company sustainability initiatives. The following sections highlight some of the metrics we track in order to determine the program’s success.
Resource conservation and cost savings via materials-use reduction or materials reuse.
Alta Environmental’s in-house Sustainability Task Force has implemented a food waste diversion program where all leftover food from company meetings is donated to Food Finders; a local donation-based food bank. The program was implemented in late August 2017 and the results for the total number of donations and the weight of the food diverted from landfills are tracked by the Sustainability Task Force. Records of receipts are kept for all food donations.
One simple result from this food-waste donation program was that we eliminated this waste stream entirely by ensuring no more food than necessary was ordered. This policy also resulted in the elimination of disposable plates and utensils in all food orders; which has reduced all of the single-use waste associated with food purchasing. The last component of this program was the implementation of a Green Purchasing Program for paper and other office products as well as placing blue recycling bins around the office to encourage employee recycling.
Emissions reductions via travel miles avoided or compensation; ride share or bike to work program.
Alta has implemented a carpooling metric into the monthly expense reports which tracks the total vehicle miles saved from carpooling to meetings and projects with fellow employees. The Sustainability Task Force at Alta then collects this data and calculates the total CO2 reductions from Carpooling per month. This program was implemented in late July 2017 and the first month of data was from August 2017, which can be seen in the table below. The Sustainability Task Force uses the US EPA’s 2015 emission rates for the average amount of CO2 emissions per mile from the average passenger vehicle to determine the total amount of CO2 emissions avoided.
Achieved Compliance with LEED EBOM-v4 EQc7: Green Cleaning - Products & Materials
Alta Environmental supports the use of low or non-toxic office cleaning supplies whenever possible and the STF recently replaced the majority of the cleaning and office supplies with an alternative product verified by the Green-Seal certification. The old cleaning products were then donated to a local donation center to avoid chemical waste ending up in a landfill.
Other Metrics the STF is Implementing in 2018:
Alta is looking to grow its sustainability in 2018 by introducing new metrics including printer and paper usage tracking and reduction, the participating in the carbon disclosure project, and monitoring electricity usage. Alta recently began tracking paper, ink, and toner consumption from month to month in hopes of identifying wasteful practices and tracking savings and waste reduction from double sided printing and other practices. Alta has been tracking carbon emissions from all aspects of business operations and plans to participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project. The Carbon Disclosure Project is an organization which supports companies and cities to disclose their environmental impacts. The Project is intended to encourage environmental reporting, tracking, and action. Finally, Alta is investigating ways of tracking office electricity and water usage.
Social Responsibility Initiatives
Alta has made a commitment to socially responsible practices including volunteer efforts, wellness challenges, and other responsible business practices. On May 24, Alta will be participating in Kids Beach Cleanup Day with I Love a Clean San Diego in Mission Beach. On July 14th, 2018, Alta employees, friends, and family will be building with Habitat for Humanity in Culver City. In addition to volunteer efforts, Alta will also continue our annual practice of donating professional services to Habitat for Humanity.
As of 2016, Alta has held the Fitbit Wellness Challenge. Each month, Alta provides Fitbits to a group of employees who choose to participate. Participants are encouraged to stay active and get the most steps in by the end of the month. The winner of each challenge is recognized with a prize and a certificate. Alta’s social responsibility efforts have been recognized through several Awards and nominations.
In 2017, Alta was awarded a 2017 Best Firms to Work For Award by Zweig Group. Most recently, Alta was nominated for the 2018 Athena Pinnacle Award in recognition of Alta’s passionate support and encouragement of women in the environmental industry.