By Autumn Gasior, Account Manager
Every year, April is the month of the Earth Day story.
It’s an important story, one that deserves to have at least its own month, but it’s one we’ve heard over and over again — every year, in fact. So every year, companies, organizations and governments work out new angles and details for the Earth Day story, because they need people to pay attention — again. The story of sustainability has its own month, because sustainability won’t work unless there’s commitment and buy-in from society as a whole.
And to stay committed, society needs reminders — constant reinforcement of the movement’s messages (that’s where communications agencies come in).
On the company level, Hirons & Company made our commitment to making significant improvements in sustainability in 2010 with the formation of our Sustainability Matters initiative. Our employees — who are all also owners of the company — had indicated in a survey that this was important to them, so the Green Team — Hirons’ sustainability-minded brain trust — dreamed up some initiatives.
Since then, we’ve installed a white roof to lower energy consumption; installed native landscaping in front of the building to limit water usage and reduce stormwater runoff; reduced our number of in-house computer servers from 18 to just three, resulting in a 35 percent energy savings; installed motion sensor lights in select rooms; and expanded our recycling program, moving from offering only paper, plastic and glass recycling to recycling cardboard, IT equipment and other various office items and hazardous materials through the city’s ToxDrop program, such as batteries, copy toner, light bulbs and electronic equipment.
After only a year of the initiative, Hirons was officially accepted as a green business into the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce Green Business Initiative, which promotes the interests of businesses that are engaged in sustainable practices.
Like every good agency, we tracked the results of our recycling initiative. Since implementing our new recycling program in 2010, we’ve reduced our volume of trash by 67 percent and increased our recycling volume by a staggering 500 percent.
We didn’t get these results simply by adding cardboard, ToxDrop materials and IT equipment into the recycling mix; while that certainly helped, the majority of our recycling load still comes from the old staples: paper, plastic and glass. The strongest push came from what we do best: communications and education.
At Hirons, we employ the same tactics that help achieve our clients’ goals to keep recycling top of mind. When an employee walks to the trash can to throw something away, she receives a recycling reminder from the sign above it: “Is this really trash?” At our monthly company-wide meetings, our sustainability message is reinforced to all employees when the “Green it Forward” award — an honor bestowed upon an individual who has displayed a commitment to environmentally friendly behaviors — is passed on to its newest recipient. The recycling bins we’ve placed at each employee’s desk don’t just make it easier to recycle; they provide a daily reminder of the commitment we as a company have made to sustainable practices.
These creative, evolving tactics keep the audience (our employees) listening. We use our own internal mix of mediums to keep the message alive.
And of course, in April, we celebrate Earth Day.