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Green Operations

Publication date: 
August, 2009

In Baltimore we’re preparing a program for members about greening their operations and options for encouraging green operations among grantees. However, we know that good practice begins at home, so we want to prepare for what we may need to green around ABAG and how we should go about it. We have no shortage of ideas for green operations, but are curious as to what regionals have chosen to do and how they came to those decisions. For example,

- Has anyone changed purchasing practice?

- Did a committee of members examine your operations and suggest changes or did staff drive this work?

- Did you calculate your carbon footprint? Create a statement on climate change?

~ Kristen Engnell Bibo, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers


Indiana Grantmakers Alliance

We have indicated to our community foundation field that we are attempting to “go green” this year. … we bought recycled paper for our annual conference handouts, we drastically reduced (from 2100 to 300) the number of conference brochures that we printed and mailed and asked those within an organization to share, and for all of our workshops, we have gone to paperless brochures and are doing everything through online registration and flyers posted on our website.

Our effort is entirely staff-driven and also cuts down on cost, which is nice. We haven’t done anything official like calculating our footprint or doing a statement. Our operational efforts are somewhat limited in that we rent our office space from the Symphony so they handle all of our maintenance. Hopefully they’ll decide to go green too. We do recycle at our office but only our paper is picked up – staff members take home cans, glass, plastic and cardboard.

Delaware Valley Grantmakers

Sorry to say that answer would be no. We did host a meeting on sustainable business practices for our corporate members. I have always printed on both sides of paper and we recently instituted paper and plastic/glass/metal recycling. We did not have that before because the building where we rent did not offer the opportunity to do so.

Philanthropy Northwest

Our staff has put more thought into green practices this year. We have contracted Raz Transportation, a motorcoach that has been converted to Bio Diesel, to take attendees to our Annual Conference in southern Washington next month. By taking the “PNW Express”, our members will be doing their part to keep 46 cars off the road and cut 315 grams of personal carbon emissions. As a staff, we are also thinking about ways to decrease the amount of paper that is used in registration packets and other conference materials.

Donors Forum of South Florida

We offered a corporate webinar (THE GREEN EFFECT: How Corporate Community Involvement Is Embracing Environmentalism) which touched on this topic. The speaker who addressed this topic specifically was Ted Hart, founder and CEO of the international nonprofit environmental movement called GreenNonprofits which is dedicated to helping nonprofits and NGOs learn how to be green. He is an excellent resource with hundreds of ways to go green.

Minnesota Council on Foundations

We have taken some minor steps like trying to reduce the amount we copy (reduce paper waste) and we no longer buy water in plastic bottles - we provide filtered water at events/meetings. We also have several staff that use public transportation and/or walk to work. Small steps, but they do help to reduce our overall carbon footprint.

One of our members, McKnight Foundation, has done significant work in this area. I'd be happy to connect you if you'd be interested.

Colorado Association of Funders

Here at CAF we haven’t done as much as we could, but have offered our members a program on climate change and provided them a resource list (see PDF below) of nonprofits working in this area to help them be more efficient and green in the work they do.

Other simple things around the office we’ve done or considered include:

Moving to 100% recycled paper

- Reduced and duplex printing

- Adding a logo and blurb on our invoices: “Help save the environment, request electronic invoices by emailing…”

- Shutting lights and other equipment off when not in use

- Ensuring each employee has a recycling container at their desk

- Moving towards electronic storage of documents

- Encouraging members to carpool to our programs

- Using pitchers of water vs. water bottles at various meetings and programs

Ohio Grantmakers Forum

Here at OGF we have a green team whose responsibility it is to come up with practices that are green and cost effective at the same time. While we know we have a long way to go, below are some of the small steps that we are working to adopt:

To conserve energy: turn off computers and other electricity-burning equipment at end of each day; turn off lights in offices when not in use.

To reduce waste: use real cups, mugs or glasses instead of paper and plastic, staff use water from the water cooler instead of bottled water; think of creative ways to print and copy less; recycle paper, plastic and aluminum can products; purchase 30% recycled copy paper.

At last year’s conference: the hotel offered guests the option to re-use linens; it avoided or minimized the use of throw-away utensils, plates, etc. It also had recycling receptacles for paper, plastic, cardboard and metal on site for attendees’ use. OGF purchased conference bags and binders made of post-consumer recycled materials; re-used name badge holders, binders, paper, etc. We also relied more heavily on electronic means for promoting conference and are moving more toward online registrations.

PDF icon CAF Green Nonprofit List.pdf35.29 KB