In September, Spirit’s Denver office was awarded membership in the State of Colorado’s Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) at the Silver level. This program, administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE), represents a strong alignment with both Spirit’s core values and the services we provide to our client-partners. The program requires progress on specific custom environmental actions and the Silver level includes a commitment to have a fully functioning Environmental Management System (EMS) in place within three years. Additionally, membership requires continual improvement and provides access to an amazing network of companies striving to improve their environmental aspects to generate positive environmental impacts.
Joining the ELP provided Spirit the opportunity to highlight one of the strongest holistic environmental components of our company culture alongside some of the innovation that is driving us forward. The first activity we highlighted was the formation, funding, and positive impacts associated with our Humanitarian, Wellness, and Sustainability Committees. These committees have budgets, stipends for chairs, and mandates to create and track positive impacts in our local communities. For example, in 2019 our Denver Humanitarian committee sponsored events for team members to serve and donate ingredients for two dinners at a local homeless shelter, donated 30 outfits to Dress for Success, donated 350 cans of food to a local food bank, provided a sizable donation to the Delores Project, and purchased close to $1,000 in school supplies for homeless students in Denver Public Schools. This service is emblematic of Spirit’s culture, and while some of these committees focus on more of the social aspects of sustainability while others focus more on the environmental, collectively they provide benefits across the spectrum of sustainability.
The second activity is more traditionally environmental in the sense of being a waste reduction measure. In Q4 2019, Spirit’s Denver office signed up to participate in a composting program run by local, bicycle-powered, woman-owned, and ELP member, Scraps. Spirit team members took on the responsibility of taking the office compost to a nearby collection point on a weekly basis, and diverted approximately 13 pounds per week of food waste and compostable products. In addition, they set up a collection point for paper towels that serve as the hand drying method in our office building’s shared bathrooms to divert those from the landfill. While the initial focus was to divert Spirit’s waste, there are future plans to open the paper towel collection to building tenants, therefore expanding our impact.
We realize our impacts may be minor in relation to others we assist in implementing ISO 14001. However, we recognize committing to our own ISO 14001 EMS within three years will assist company-wide in minimizing our negative impacts, while also maximizing our positive. This commitment aligns not only with our company culture, but with our growing Sustainability program. One of the key tenets of this program is actively taking the steps to integrate sustainability into our structure, whether it’s the impacts and aspects analysis recently completed to start our EMS journey, or the in-progress development of an internal Sustainability Management Plan. The value of holistic sustainability is compelling from a business standpoint, from an environmental standpoint, and from a culture standpoint, and at Spirit we are proud to demonstrate leadership in sustainability as we move into our next 15 years!