Every year on April 22nd since 1970, people around the world commit themselves to a day of going green. Earth Day symbolizes the collective initiative we need must have in order to instil a new, positive impact on our environment. But that’s exactly what it is, a symbol. The environmental consciousness that comes with this day must expand into a practice that lasts all year round.
The theme for Earth Day 2016 is “Trees for the Earth.” North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences conducted a study concluding one tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old. They reduce soil erosion, lift up to 100 gallons of water from the ground to the air (in only a day), and one large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people!
All it takes is one tree. One tree!
This information hit home for us at Intelex. If one single tree can make that big of a difference on the environment, what else is possible? Creating a green culture in the workplace proved even more important than ever so we started looking into some already existing initiatives for inspiration. What we found was an overwhelming amount of sustainability programs that were too impactful not to share:
In 2014, NRG set ambitious long-term sustainability goals, which include decreasing CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030, and 90% by 2050. More specifically, the company focuses its environmental commitments around Water Conservation, Emissions Reduction, Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, and Community Stewardship.
Supporting trees and tree-friendly projects is a key part of NRG’s community stewardship efforts. NRG employees regularly volunteer time to plant trees in local communities, donate trees to US National Forests and support the Maintain Oxbow Reforestation project. In these ways, the organization finds its many sustainability and environmental efforts rewarding for the company, the employees and the communities in which they live and work.
J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) is continually exploring innovative new ways to lighten its environmental footprint. Today, the organization remains the world’s first pulp mill to use reverse osmosis in the cleaning of waste water which has had a proven positive impact on fish and river health. Infrared cameras are equipped on forestry helicopters to measure cool pools of water to protect wild Atlantic salmon.
The organization innovated and patented a potato that uses less fertilizer and has discovered a naturally occurring spore in spruce trees that reduces the impact of spruce budworm infestation. Today, along with Inuit and Aboriginal groups the company is studying the impact of climate change on Arctic ice and soil erosion on PEI. Since 1957, J.D. Irving has planted almost one billion trees. Over the next 50 years they will absorb CO2, the equivalent of 18 million cars off the road for one year!
Tell us about your green culture!
NRG Energy and J.D. Irving are incredible examples of companies leading the way in the environmental movement. Is your organization sustaining a green culture? In the spirit of Earth Day and for our own green inspirations, we want to hear about your programs! Share your goals and initiatives on the Intelex Community by joining our Sustainability Stories post.
Happy Earth Day!