You know how a lot of companies say “employees are our greatest asset”? Well, in our case we really mean it. Without our team of dedicated, talented people, our brand would not be the force for change that it is.

Sustainability Squad

While we do have a dedicated Sustainability Maven on staff, we believe that if she was the only one thinking about sustainability on a regular basis, we would be far from achieving our goal of being a truly sustainable company. We also want to harness our employees’ passions for environmental and social issues, and deepen their connection with Eco-Products.

That’s why every month, our Sustainability Squad meets to brainstorm and execute ideas to integrate sustainability into our culture. Examples of 2015 projects by this motivated crew include:

Earth Week extravaganza: Volunteering with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, 63rd Street Farm, and neighborhood clean-up (check out this report’s Community section); an eco-scavenger hunt that had us scouring Boulder on bikes for things like solar panels and restaurants that compost; “Let’s Get Physical” lunchtime bike rides, walks, and yoga (because we need to take care of ourselves as well as the earth); and an alternative transportation coffee hour, where the company bought your latte if you got there by a mode other than driving yourself.

Bike To Work Day: We challenged ourselves to have at least 30% of our daily commuting miles be done by bike that day, and we met our goal!

Alternative Transportation Challenge: For Q4 2015, we split our office into four teams. Employees earned a point each time they came to work or ran an errand using some form of alternative transportation. We racked up quite a few points and contributed to an annual reduction in employee commuting miles by solo car driving by over 5% when compared to 2014.

Hard-to-Recycle Drive: Cleaning out junk in our office and employee’s homes, we worked with Green Girl Recycling to collect and recycle:

  • 193 pounds of batteries
  • 137 pounds of scrap metal
  • 993 pounds of computers and printers

Swap Meet: One person’s trash is another’s treasure Multiple collection drives for food, school supplies, and shoes: See this report’s Community section (p. 26) for heart-warming details.

Squad Blog: Squad members take turns doing a monthly blog on the sustainability topic of their choosing. Check it out here. Over one-quarter of our office is consistently active in our Sustainability Squad – a statistic we are very proud of.

Professional Development

Part of being a responsible, best-in-class company is providing employees opportunities to enhance their existing skills and develop new ones. While we have long offered and reimbursed trainings and workshops for our employees, we know from measuring ourselves against the B Corp assessment that we can improve in this area.

In 2015, we provided select employees the opportunity to manage our pilot project that worked with customers to recycle plastic films that are not allowed in their single stream recycling programs. (Check out the Product End-of-Life section of this report for details on our partnership with Snooze and Boulder Community Health.) Two employees from Accounting and Logistics got involved in this sustainability initiative.

This experience allowed these two employees to develop new skills, such as project management and communication. They were also able to work with different departments outside of their official role. Feedback from these employees and their managers was positive, recognizing the project’s benefits in terms of professional development and enhancing employee affinity to the company.

While we will continue to involve employees in this particular project, we don’t necessarily have the bandwidth to scale this program widely throughout the company. However, we remain committed to professional development. In 2016, we are excited to roll out a new online training system to all employees. We are also developing a new Lunch and Learn program to give employees insight into other aspects of our business, as well as a few other ideas to help employees build their skills and knowledge. We look forward to reporting our progress in next year’s report.

Other Employee Engagement

In 2015, our managers and executives went on a two day, off-site retreat to review our corporate strategy and goals for the next three years, and discuss and formalize our corporate values. What was notable about this retreat was that the manager level was included for the first time; previously, only executives participated in this level of planning.

This brought additional perspectives into the fold and gave managers the opportunity to actively help set the direction and tone of the company. Many managers commented that they felt increasingly valued by the company as a result of this, and they appreciated the chance to contribute at a higher level. Going forward, this group will meet three times per year to review our progress and discuss how Eco-Products can strive to be better, both strategically and in practice.

Part of these meetings will also be spent discussing how well Eco-Products is living out our corporate values. Prior to each meeting, we are committing to do an anonymous, company-wide survey of all employees to get a gauge on whether our values are meaningful, or whether they are simply words on a page.

Asking for everyone’s input is an attempt to gather the full spectrum of opinions that is necessary to get a true pulse on how employees feel about life at Eco-Products and how it can be improved.

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2015 Goals:

  • In 2015, continue to use our Sustainability Squad as a way to engage employees in sustainability and make Eco-Products a great place to work
  • In 2015, pilot a program to enhance employees’ professional development
  • In 2015, at least 50% of our employees will take advantage of their paid day off to volunteer

2016 Goals:

  • In 2016, continue to use our Sustainability Squad as a way to engage employees in sustainability and make Eco-Products a great place to work
  • In 2016, 70% of our employees will include a sustainability goal in their performance review
  • In 2015, at least 55% of our employees will take advantage of their paid day off to volunteer
Eco-Products Employees