Exploring the Meaning of Sustainability

December 21, 2022 in
By Katie Sheppard and Emma Wright

The FMP Sustainability Committee is closing out our four-part series on the topic of workplace sustainability! The first blog kicked-off the series by introducing the topic and why it matters in the workplace. The second blog delved into the sustainable processes and practices within FMP’s office. The third blog shared considerations to make your home office more sustainable. Finally, we close out the year exploring the meaning of sustainability at FMP by featuring our very own consultants.

When we first formed the Sustainability Committee at FMP, we conducted a visioning exercise where we shared what sustainability means to each of us. We used our responses to define the committee’s purpose and goals, and we saw some interesting and insightful thoughts. We decided to also conduct this exercise on an FMP-wide scale and share the responses through our blog.

What does Sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability means thinking critically about our everyday activities and habits: Taking meaningful steps to reduce car trips, reduce food and product waste, and supporting policies which lead to more walkable communities and developments.” – Justin Fuhrmann, Engagement Manager

“Sustainability means balance to me. Where the environment is in a healthy equilibrium, creating a peaceful, everlasting dynamic that represents harmony across all components.” – Sarah Basha, Senior Program Manager

“To me, sustainability is about a long-term commitment to taking positive action (large and small) that changes the impact we have on the environment for the better. A lot of the conversations around climate change feel very overwhelming and the impact of an individual’s actions feel really insignificant, but when you think about small, sustainable changes that you can make (and encourage others to make), those improvements start adding up over time. So, sustainability becomes both the end-goal and the manner through which we’ll make progress and change, which I find to be motivating, not overwhelming.” – Jess Milloy, Chief Operating Officer

“To me, sustainability is about living within one’s means (be it at an individual, organizational, or societal level).” – Nate Voss, Senior Consultant

“Sustainability to me is about collective responsibility, collective legacy, and collective care. Together we further the longevity, beauty, and overall health of our communities locally, nationally, and globally. Nature, car emissions, recycling and up cycling, how we use space, and how we vote to maintain those things. Sustainability is passing off something that is better than what we received but also providing a mindsight to future generations on how to maintain and take to new heights ways to sustain for even further generations. Finally, collective care is finding your lane, expression, and actions in that responsibility and following it, expressing it, advocating for it and doing it with consistency with the goals in mind.” – Tristine Harris, Consultant

To me, sustainability encompasses our understanding of what it will take to preserve the future of human inhabitation of this planet that is harmonious with the earth’s health, and the subsequent actions we take in that effort. Sustainability should be accessible, and must consider how economic and social conditions intersect with environmental ones. – Emma Wright, Consultant

Now that you’ve heard from us, we want to ask you: what does sustainability mean to you? Feel free to engage with us through our social media channels (LinkedIn and Facebook) to continue the conversation. Thank you for following this series over the course of 2022! We hope we inspired more sustainable practices within your workplace or home office.

Katie Sheppard joined FMP in November of 2016 and currently works as a Senior Consultant II. Katie is from Florida but currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. In her free time, Katie enjoys taking photos, reading, and (most importantly) spending time with her family. 

Emma Wright joined FMP in November 2020. She is a Consultant in the Learning and Development Center of Excellence and is the FMP Blog Coordinator. She hails from Alexandria, Virginia, and you can often find her crafting, out at a concert, or eating at her favorite DC restaurants.