While our commitment to serving others makes a big difference on its own, what truly drives lasting and positive change is creating an organizational culture based on respect, empathy, and conscientious behavior.
That why we've evolved from an employee volunteer program to a true corporate social responsibility practice. That's why civic engagement, conscious consumerism, and environmental stewardship are embedded in the very foundation of our firm—here's how.
Channeling resources for good
We encourage our colleagues to think about how to use their resources to yield the greatest good: from promoting the socially responsible fund in our firm’s 401k offerings to working with internal teams to donate their frequent flier miles, credit card rewards, and financial incentives to causes they care about.
Socially responsible purchasing
Our 3,500 working professionals yield a great deal of purchasing power. At the organizational level, our CSR team created an RFP to push our business toward the area’s most socially responsible vendors.
At the individual level, we educate our colleagues, for instance by hosting a “Shop with Meaning Market” event at our Washington, D.C., headquarters featuring more than a dozen local businesses that formed relationships with hundreds of our colleagues. The model for our event has since been used by other organizations.
We created and closely follow a code of ethics for our business that reflects our commitment to making a positive difference for our members, staff, and communities. Our Supplier Code of Conduct ensures that these guidelines extend to every vendor we partner with, generating positive community benefit and creating a culture of safety and respect.
As a mid-sized professional services firm, we have a limited supply chain and limited-to-no harmful emissions from our business. So we focus most of our sustainability efforts on the three areas where we can have the greatest environmental impact: real estate; travel; and the choices made by our staff, community partners, and members.
We are committed to ensuring that every new space we occupy is Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified. We also focus on maximizing natural light; it’s good not only for employee health but also for the environment. Positioning offices on the interior allows all employees to benefit from natural light, while individual light controls, motion sensor lighting, and energy efficient bulbs curb energy use.
Our business model requires a certain amount of travel to ensure high-quality member support, but we have established mechanisms to decrease travel in other areas of our business. For instance, in the last two years, we have greatly improved our video conferencing capabilities, outfitting all of our offices and computers accordingly.
Supporting staff sustainability choices
We’ve created a number of policies and leadership opportunities designed to promote sustainable choices:
- Increased flexible/tele-work opportunities and public transportation subsidies
- Automatic double-sided printing
- All EnergyStar devices
- Mandated recycling options in all offices
- Reduced paper products. For instance, providing mugs at orientation and removing paper cups from buildings reduced annual cup use by 400K cups.
- Telemedicine options for doctor visits
- "Green Teams” in our largest offices focused on generating and implementing ideas to reduce waste individually and collectively
Through our Sustainability Cause Community, we have also brought together a cohort of individuals across the firm interested in maximizing environmental sustainability and reducing their individual and collective footprint. They work together to volunteer on these issues in the community, support Green Teams and company leaders in developing the right policies for the firm, and helping individual employees reduce their footprint.
Supporting member and community partner sustainability efforts
We are also committed to helping our members identify and implement environmental sustainability best practices to lower costs and improve population health. The Health Care Sustainability Initiative represents our first effort to provide members targeted and actionable resources for promoting sustainable health care delivery practices.
We think that syndicating best practices, on a pro bono basis, to improve sustainability in our sectors of expertise can have a large-scale impact and is the best way for us to be good stewards of the environment.
We try to think holistically about how we drive positive social change in communities, and engaging in the civic process is certainly an important component of that involvement. Since 2014, our offices have hosted many local government leaders—including mayors, city council members, and chief service officers—as well as representatives from the White House Office of Social Innovation and the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
We’re serious about ethical business practices and good governance, both to ensure sound stewardship of shareholder funds and to position our business as a leader in bettering society. This focus shapes many aspects of our approach.
Twenty percent of our board of directors are women—a baseline figure we expect to keep or exceed in perpetuity. In addition, the vast majority (70%) of our board members are independent directors.
Safeguarding our members’ confidential data is a board-level issue at our firm. We have established strict policies and procedures to ensure the privacy and security of that data.
Our board reviews key performance indicators of social impact on a quarterly basis to ensure we are focused on making a positive difference not only through our traditional business efforts to support health care organizations and educational institutions, but also through our volunteerism and corporate responsibility efforts.