InfraConsult engages in numerous efforts to support its sustainability goals. The firm’s policies include using environmentally sound supplies and equipment and encouraging employee attendance at relevant sustainability conferences and seminars. More specifically, InfraConsult utilizes pre-owned office furniture, and refurbished or rented office equipment. Similarly, the firm opts to forgo establishment ofphysical office locations until it is essential. “We operate InfraConsult without the burden of geographic anchors,” says InfraConsult Managing Partner Michael Schneider. Prior to leasing an office, staff telecommutes, meeting at the client’s request when necessary.
Though a smaller consulting firm (approximately 40 employees), InfraConsult has joined a number of large agencies in committing to a set of actions on sustainability by participating in the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Sustainability Commitment pilot program. With the other participants, InfraConsult helped to pioneer the program by testing the base requirements, establishing accountability mechanisms, and determining the overall program structure. Although the firm had engaged in sustainable practices in the past, participation in the pilot phase gave way to new sustainable efforts. Over the course of the last two years, InfraConsult has engaged in a number of sustainable practices, such as recycling, purchasing additional alternative “green” office products, and switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs and reusable dishware. In addition to identifying a sustainability manager, the firm also formed a sustainability committee, staffed by employees from all four offices, holds meetings via teleconference, provides APTA with annual progress reports, and educates employees through the company’s electronic newsletter. Annual employee surveys allow the committee to keep the pulse of sustainability efforts in each office, and to initiate new company-wide efforts. By participating in the APTA Sustainability Commitment pilot phase, InfraConsult continues to demonstrate its commitment to make sustainability a part of the organization’s strategic objectives.
“Empowering our employees to make sustainable decisions at work has influenced the way we live outside of the office; it has connected us to our communities and it has united us in a goal for the common good at work. There is no part of our lives these initiatives don’t affect,” says Tesse Roberts, InfraConsult’s sustainability manager.
Involvement in the pilot phase of APTA’s Sustainability Commitment has allowed InfraConsult to represent smaller companies and agencies, which often are limited in the green strategies that can be implemented. Unlike multi-national companies and agencies with thousands of employees, smaller firms often lease office space rather than own buildings, cannot take advantage of economies of scale, and must implement sustainability strategies selectively. The flexibility of a smaller organization is an asset in this case: when leasing a new office, building recycling policies, access to transit, and other non-traditional amenities can be moved to the top of the checklist.