Program helps Park City businesses learn to be Earth-friendly
April 21, 2018
Bill Wilson and Kathryn Shanks are rooting for the city to meet its goal of having net zero carbon emissions for city operations by 2022, but they believe multiple organizations need to come together to make it happen. To help meet that goal, they are starting with businesses.
Wilson and Shanks are using the online sustainability platform Sustain3, which Wilson founded, to educate and inspire employees to make eco-friendly decisions at work and home. Last fall, they did a six-week pilot program at Lululemon on Main Street. The employees reduced their energy, water and gas consumption, Wilson said.
Now, they hope to help other businesses do the same.
"This community can't become a sustainable community without the commitment of businesses, and vice versa. The businesses can't be sustainable without the support and infrastructure provided by the city," Shanks said.
Wilson met Shanks, who is the principal consultant for the firm Climate and Sustainability Strategies, last August. The two Park City residents began discussing the need for local businesses to be more sustainable, and they decided to partner on a project.
"We shared our expertise, our experiences and our skill sets," Wilson said. "We just needed someone to test it on."
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He spoke to Haley Lebsack, who is passionate about sustainability and used to work at Lululemon, and the three of them decided to bring Wilson's program to the shop.
Eighteen Lululemon employees signed up for the program, which required them to watch videos about sustainable practices, complete short quizzes and make changes to be more sustainable. They were asked to find alternative ways to work other than driving and to take shorter showers, as well as complete community service.
Jackie Perron, assistant manager at Lululemon, said that the program was fun and easy to do. Although she said she is already eco-conscious, she was able to learn more about the company's corporate office's sustainable practices, as well as information about her singular impact on the environment.
"It was surprising and refreshing for me, somebody who stands behind sustainability and does have daily practices already in place," she said.
She said that it is important for businesses to make sustainable choices, such as to recycle, because they can have a big impact by inspiring individuals or other companies to change.
Shanks said that she and Wilson are now taking the results from their pilot to the city and county, to offer a solution to educate local businesses. She said that they hope to work with smaller businesses that might not have the staff to help them make decisions that reduce waste.
Wilson said that the results showed that sustainable practices can help businesses financially and environmentally. When they waste less, they save money, he said.
"We wanted to see results at the business level and at the personal level, and we were happy with both," he said.
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