WGA Green is our commitment to making changes in the work life of our employees to allow for a more sustainable future.
As a result, WGA launched the WGA Green initiative back in 2007 to promote awareness about conserving energy, recycling more, and to become more socially responsible citizens when it comes to our energy usage.
A considerable initial effort was made through numerous action items designed by the WGA Green Committee, including several operational changes and a few outreach programs. WGA Green was featured in an article on brokers who were going green in Leaders Edge Magazine in July 2008. Here are some of the highlights from the article:
“The company launched its green initiative last summer, and within just a few months a green team developed a list of 25 environmentally friendly practices and implemented the top 10—including an expanded recycling program and a switch to energy-saving light bulbs. Employees now receive training about new corporate policies designed to conserve computer power and reduce unnecessary printing. Instead of three-ring binders fat with paper, employees receive internal documentation, like the employee handbook, online.
Renting a car on a business trip? Unless you specifically ask for something else, you’ll get a hybrid. And to encourage suburban-dwelling employees to take public transportation to work, WGA established an account with Zipcar, an on-demand car-sharing service, so brokers can still drive to client meetings.
Some moves were driven by clients: Environmentally conscience companies have requested paperless policies, and the broker obliges by delivering insurance documents electronically.
Employee perks at WGA also have a green tint. The company pays for a program that helps stop unwanted paper junk mail, and employees get a $550 subsidy toward a home computer with an Energy Star 4.0 rating, but only $300 for something less energy efficient. WGA also incorporated its environmental ethos into the quarterly meeting last summer. Instead of the typical outing to a beach or country club, 150 employees cleaned up nine public parks in Boston.”
Then in 2008, WGA Green issued a “power-saving challenge” to the entire staff at the firm’s Boston office. By charting the electricity usage of the prior years for Boston employees, the WGA Green committee set a goal to stay below the average for ten consecutive months. If the goal was achieved, they earn themselves a “Kilowatt” celebration. Employees shut down computers when not in use, and made a company-wide effort to conserve energy wherever they could. WGA Green happily reported that the power-saving challenge goal was reached!
In November 2010, WGA sent a “green survey” to clients and partners to solicit help in “re-energizing” internal efforts to be green. The survey revealed numerous suggestions about how to improve the WGA Green program for our internal practices. The survey found that many of the suggestions were already underway, including: doing away with bottled water in our vending machines, issuing reusable water bottles to employees, coffee mugs and travel mugs, choosing fuel efficient rental options for business, promoting the use of Zip Cars, putting recycling containers at each desk, tracking our monthly electricity usage, making better use of scanning software/PDF maker, printing double-sided, going electronic with the WGA holiday cards, and encouraging employees to power down at the end of day and whenever possible during the day. But some great new ideas were revealed, including:
- Create a “Green” blog to allow employees to post what they did to contribute to reducing WGA’s carbon footprint
- Issue policies digitally to clients when possible
- Use FSC certified paper 100% carbon neutral paper for company stationary
- Replace all PC monitors with more energy-efficient models
- Go digital with internal meeting agendas
- Eliminate junk mail and go digital where possible for print subscriptions
In 2013, WGA renovated its headquarters space in Boston. That renovation included the implementation of latest best practices for reduced energy usage as well as the promotion of recycled materials for new furniture and other fixtures.
The WGA Green effort continues today, and we continue to look for more innovative ways to conserve energy around all our offices, and hopefully make for a more sustainable future for us all.