Walking the talk

We have decades of experience honing our industry's best practices.

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As an environmental consulting firm whose mission is to “inspire and empower communities everywhere to protect and restore our world,” we help our clients and their customers develop and implement policies and practices that protect the health of the planet and its people. Cascadia also adheres to these policies and best practices in its own company operations. Cascadia operates in low-energy, low-water, and nearly zero-waste offices to actively limit environmental impacts associated with our work. Because Cascadia is composed of individuals who feel strongly about the impact we have on human and environmental health, we place a high priority on ensuring that the internal choices of the company reflect our values. The Cascadia Green Team is crucial to our success in “walking the talk.” This group of employees is charged with continuously evaluating and improving the firm’s environmental sustainability; to this end, the team supports three major ongoing green initiatives: Green Office Operations, Commuting and Transportation, and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing.
Green Office Operations

The Green Office Operations initiative focuses on reducing the use of resources, such as water, electricity, and single-use items. We’ve decreased electricity use by installing motion-sensor lighting and shifting to an open-office layout to better use natural light. Cascadia’s Green Team also helped facilitate the replacement of all of our building’s older toilets with high-efficiency 1.28-gpf models, saving 200,000 gallons of water and $4,500 in utility costs annually. We keep a pollution prevention spill kit on hand to protect storm drains, post signage in restroom stalls to promote only toilet paper down the toilet, and post signage at sinks to prevent food and fats, oils, and grease from going down the drain and causing sewage backups and overflows. To reduce waste and improve indoor air quality, we source reclaimed or reused material and low VOC paints, finishes, and carpet in our office remodel process. The kitchen is stocked with an ample supply of durable dishes and flatware for daily use and events, as well as washable dishtowels and napkins. We have transitioned to electronic invoicing, accounting, and file management systems and maintain a paper-reduction program that includes default double-sided printing and paper reuse bins. Finally, Cascadia has convenient “zero waste” stations throughout the office that are color-coded, consistent, and have clear signage. All staff receive onboarding training and regular reminders about sorting and reducing waste. Cascadia’s Seattle office is an EnviroStars-recognized business through the Washington State EnviroStars green business program.
Commuting, Transportation, and Remote Work

Cascadia provides all employees with technology to enable remote work, and all Cascadia staff have worked hybrid (office + remote) or full-time remote schedules during the pandemic, reducing commute emissions. We use videoconferencing software including WebEx, Zoom, and Teams for internal meetings—and, whenever appropriate and feasible, for client check-ins and public engagement events, to minimize travel emissions. For travel that cannot be avoided, Cascadia’s policy is to seek lower-carbon modes of travel when appropriate. The company owns two fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles that can be used for work purposes as well as personal needs to help support employees who choose not to own a motor vehicle. When staff do commute to the office, nearly all (97%) do so either on public transportation or by bicycle. Secure bicycle storage racks and an office shower are available for employees who cycle to work. The company offers public transportation stipends and “guaranteed ride home” policies to encourage the use of public transit and maintains a flexible schedule and work-from-home policy to allow employees to avoid trips and work efficiently.
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

Cascadia’s EPP plan informs and guides our purchasing decisions and helps ensure they align with our overall company mission. For example, Cascadia purchases recycled-content letterhead, envelopes, and business cards, as well as locally milled 100% post-consumer recycled-content paper. We buy green supplies and cleaning products and purchase from local suppliers whenever possible, including buying local and sustainable foods for company events. Our EPP plan is updated annually and outlines minimum company standards, procurement channels, and tracking mechanisms for goods and services in the following key procurement categories: business travel, food, electronics, paper, cleaning supplies, protective gear and clothing, office supplies, venues, and construction.

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