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A Forward Focus at Progress Place

POSTED UNDER Go Green Employee Resource Groups

The Progress Place Go Green ERG is gearing up for a big year in 2017. One of the more recent additions to the growing family of Go Green ERGs, the Progress Place group has just gotten settled since the office relocated from Kemper Road in Cincinnati to the new space. While there was a Green Team for several years, “We just became an official ERG before the move,” says Sustainability Packaging Specialist and Buyer and Go Green ERG Co-Chair Maureen Hunt.

The January kickoff was especially meaningful for this team, as it provided an opportunity to set goals and hone in on a focus for the ERG’s efforts in a way that dramatically increases its impact. “We’re going to focus on the education aspect this year,” said Hunt, “and really use all the avenues we have for education.”

And those avenues are many, including digital monitors, lunch and learn opportunities, signage, a lunchroom information table staffed by Go Green ERG members, and something new: “Some walls in the Progress Place offices are painted with a special paint, so messages can be written on them,” says Manager of Accounts Payable and Go Green ERG Co-Chair Rachel Wardwell. “It’s a sustainable approach to communications, and also one that’s a lot of fun – there’s a great novelty aspect to it!”

Education about sustainability is critical to driving changes in behavior, because building awareness is the first step. “We’re expanding our education efforts beyond the office to include ideas people can take home with them and incorporate into their personal lives,” says Hunt, noting that thinking holistically about sustainability increases individual impact.

Increasing participation in recycling and educating on its positive impact are both areas of major focus. The Go Green ERG team wants to ensure every associate knows what can be recycled and how to recycle it. “This is going to be a significant part of our education efforts,” says Wardwell. “We’re re-labeling all the recycling bins, and all conference rooms now include recycling receptacles.”

Rewarding participation is another way they’ll be boosting participation. “We’re planning to implement a raffle, where we’ll hand out raffle tickets to individuals spotted recycling and give away small prizes on a regular basis. We want to get people excited about recycling the right way, and understanding the impact they’re having,” says Hunt.

Both Hunt and Wardwell have deep-seated personal commitments to sustainability. Wardwell grew up in a recycling family, and says “We were recycling before there was household recycling. If there was a bottle or other litter on the ground, we were being told to pick it up.”

Being the mother of small children further stokes her commitment, especially in the face of pre-packaged snacks and small portions: “I feel it’s on me, because a lot of the impact we have is preventable, and it’s a personal accomplishment to see your individual impact and your household’s impact shrink. One person really can make a difference.”

Hunt, who has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science, places tremendous value on being in nature: “It’s a great way to find stillness, to de-stress, and I believe being able to preserve those things for future generations is important. To me, it’s something that completes the idea of being a good person – not just looking out for ourselves, but for future generations as well.”

Hunt’s passion for sustainability stems from a college trip, where she went to a camp in California. “I was awe-struck by these mountains, and staying there, hiking and teaching the kids in our group – it had a big impact on me and it inspired me be an active part of protecting it.”

The entire Go Green ERG team is excited about Earth Day and is currently planning a number of activities and events for the Progress Place office. We can’t wait to see what they have in store.


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The Nuts and Bolts of In-Store Recycling at Macy’s

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What You May Not Know about Textile Recycling


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