Sustainability in the Workplace: Lessons from FMP

July 15, 2022 in , , ,
By Christian Bouker and Sam Deschenes

The FMP Sustainability Committee is continuing our 4-part series on the topic of workplace sustainability! We started off the series by exploring what workplace sustainability is, why it matters, and offered several small steps that we can try ourselves. In this blog, we dive deeper into some of the processes and practices that FMP is using, as well as showcase some of the ongoing ways we are looking to improve as a company.

Where We Work

To start, FMP chose to move to Shirlington Tower in 2016 partly because it was a great location and also because it is a LEED certified building, which means it’s green – efficient with good energy star ratings and run with sustainable practices. This includes details such as insulated windows to require less heat in the winter and protective glass to keep the sun’s harmful and warming rays out to require less AC in the summer. Additionally, we do our part by complying with Arlington County recycling ordinances by making sure we have a recycling can wherever there is a trash can and having clearly marked instructions on what we can and cannot recycle. Beyond that, we use recycled paper and paper towels in the office and we are moving toward an initiative to use greener cleaning products, reusable containers, and recyclable packaging. We have reduced the amount of printing we do and even reduced the number of printers we have at the office. We also have a schedule of tasks to save energy around our office, including making sure unused monitors are turned off and checking auto-lights to ensure they are working properly and aren’t wasting electricity.

How We Get Around

Another great thing about our location are the sustainable transportation options. Our building is adjacent to a parking garage that offers charging stations for electronic vehicles and bike lockers (plus a free gym and locker room for building tenants). There is a variety of public transit access points close by that provide alternatives to driving to work, which can in turn lead to reduced emissions from vehicles.. There is also an abundance of great residential options within the Shirlington community which enables a commute via walking and biking.

How We Operate

A key element to becoming a greener organization is being intentional about how we do things. FMP created a Sustainability Committee to focus and plan our intent on better practices to look after the Earth and to promote discussions around sustainability, such as this blog series! This committee has helped inform and advocates for sustainable processes and procedures across the company. Most recently during the transition to work from home, FMP has shifted to hybrid meeting structures by leveraging the latest collaboration technologies through Microsoft 365 applications such as Teams. FMP has a flexible work environment that provides the option for working from home, which has allowed us to explore additional applications and technology.  A good example of this is using Microsoft OneNote instead of traditional notebooks, a practice adopted by some FMP staff. Additionally, this hybrid environment reduces emissions to the environment with less fuel usage for commuting.

How We Consume

Over the last several years, FMP has repeatedly come up with ways to do our part to reduce pollution. A great example of this was removing our Keurig machines, thus avoiding k-cups that are not easily recyclable. We were using around 6000 per year! That’s a lot of plastic to throw away! In place of sparkling water that came in plastic bottles, we brought in a Bevi sparkling water dispensing machine. Before this change, we were going through around 5000 plastic bottles per year, and now the Bevi machine helps track the ongoing bottles saved (over 1900 to date). FMP has also supplied staff with both reusable water bottles and travel cups. FMP’s kitchen also offers glasses, mugs, plates, and silverware that we wash and reuse instead of single-use plasticware and paper plates. Part of our sustainability outreach to vendors is to tell them not to bring us any disposable items since we have our own reusable supply. When deciding between different vendors, FMP also takes into consideration whether they are operating under sustainable best practices, including using green resources and supplies.

How We Continue to Improve

While these efforts have helped push FMP in a more sustainable direction, we continue to strive to make improvements across our company. Sustainability is a consistent effort that should not be isolated to certain activities or times of the year.  The Sustainability Committee continues to plan sustainability-related events and programs at FMP to engage the workforce.

First, FMP is looking to continue to provide opportunities for greater employee awareness and involvement. In celebration of Earth Day, FMP hosted a guest speaker from a local organization who shared practical actions employees can take to promote a more sustainable community. Connecting with a local, professional organization enables FMP to support both the broad implications for sustainability, and also specific, actionable tasks for many of our employees.

Second, the Sustainability Committee recently put on a bingo-style sustainability challenge, where FMP employees competed to complete as many sustainable actions as possible within a week.  Participants played for a chance to win prizes to companies that promote and support sustainability. From using re-usable bags at the grocery store to visiting a farmers’ market, the activities were meant to represent easy, accessible ways to try sustainable practices. Not only did participants mention the fun they had with the challenge, but they also remarked on how they were pleasantly surprised at how many sustainable actions they found they were already engaging in. Looking ahead, FMP has plans for similar activities that offer fun ways for everyone to be involved with sustainability.

Most importantly, FMP continues to work toward making sustainability an integral part of our culture. As a collective we can, through small, intentional actions make a difference in our impact on the environment. FMP will continue to strive to be a part of the solution to make our Earth a healthier place to be now and in the future. Take these examples and considerations from FMP and join our efforts to be better stewards of our community and planet!

Christian Bouker joined FMP Consulting as an iOS Team Consultant in October 2012. He received a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University of Ohio. He has nearly 15 years of experience in the operations area of government contracting with a focus on accounting, IT, and facilities management. Christian enjoys exercising, cooking, watching sports, and streaming TV shows and movies.

Sam Deschenes joined FMP Consulting as a Human Capital Consultant in November 2020. He received his Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University. Some of his project topics and areas of expertise include performance management, data analysis, and change management. In his free time, Sam joins exploring the offerings of D.C., running on local trails, and games with friends.