Just as much as we dedicate ourselves to designing sustainable buildings, GBD also commits to upholding healthy practices within our office. This includes how we get to work, how we do our work, and our personal practices while we’re here. Thanks to dedication and commitment from all levels of the firm, GBD recently achieved Gold level certification through Sustainability at Work. As a community, we went above and beyond Sustainability at Work’s requirements, achieving more than the specified level of 45 points for Gold, its highest certification awarded.

The Sustainability at Work program was formed in 2007 through the City of Portland to provide solutions to thousands of Portland businesses that wanted to advance green initiatives in their workplaces. The program now provides a comprehensive checklist of actions to help companies recognize their positive impact on the environment and greater Portland community, as well as support through Sustainability Advisors who help firms overcome obstacles in their path toward healthier operations.

The Sustainability at Work certification process gave GBD a framework to examine each of our office practices and identify what worked and what didn’t. We honed our processes to reduce waste, worked with our building owner to advocate for energy efficient systems and green cleaning products to be implemented on the larger scale, and even dreamed up new programs to help shift employee motivations toward active and healthy practices.

Incredible breakthroughs resulted from the certification process, including creation of an innovative Active Transportation benefit, which goes far beyond the incentives many employers offer. GBD’s Active Transportation Benefit rewards employees who walk or bike to work a majority of the time with a $100 monthly stipend. During the program’s first few months, many employees have signed up, and a few have even switched from driving or using TriMet to walking or biking.

This is just the beginning. We know that we can always do better, and seek to establish positive patterns and norms for others to follow. It is our ultimate goal that the change we enact for ourselves will inspire others to join us in our pursuit of a sustainable workplace.