NOLS Environmental Sustainability Initiative Update
By Jen Lamb, NOLS Public Policy Director
The sustainability initiative is off and running, primed by substantial input from instructors, administrative staff members and board members alike! Currently led by the public policy department, the initiative is focused on three areas: 1) completing a school-wide assessment to establish a baseline for improvement in the future, 2) continuing to collect and evaluate input from employees around the world, and 3) beginning to shape goals that will drive the school’s efforts to achieve higher levels of sustainability.
We’re excited about the assessment process, which is just getting started. Pure Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in sustainability, will visit headquarters and three NOLS locations (the Southwest, Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain) in August to evaluate our facilities and systems and collect data and information that will allow them to give us a snapshot of our current environmental footprint. All of our other operating locations will participate in the audit by phone and email.
The assessment will evaluate our energy use and emissions, water consumption, food and rations systems, solid waste and recycling, building design, toxic materials management, equipment purchasing, travel policies, and mission and values. After developing a good sense of how we operate, Pure Strategies will provide school-wide recommendations about how we can most effectively and efficiently reduce our footprint. We are likely to learn a lot and then have good information and experience that we can pass along to our students in the form of new curriculum. Stay tuned!