Princeton Hydro’s “why” centers on our commitment “to changing our ecosystems, quality of life, and communities for the better.” In order to fully realize our “why,” our team recognized the need for a company-wide sustainability plan that examines our current actions and explores new opportunities. As our company increases in size and revenue, we recognize the need to both highlight our sustainability success stories and ensure we continue operating with sustainability at the forefront. Therefore, via the initiative of our staff, a Sustainability and Stewardship Team was formed in 2018 to develop our guiding plan.
Today, we’re putting the spotlight on the folks who orchestrate the Sustainability & Stewardship Working Group to learn more about the contributions and positive impacts they’ve made over the past two years.
Let’s Meet Them!
Jennifer Duff, Administrative Assistant
Jennifer is passionate about climate and environmental issues both as part of the Sustainability Team and outside of work through her connection to CT Fibershed, a group that encourages purchasing wool or other fiber products from local farmers. Jennifer’s two favorite accomplishments for the committee thus far are helping to switch over office purchasing to focus on recycled and green products and cleaners, and researching sustainable products for our annual holiday gift-giving initiative.
Nicole Hanson, Executive Assistant
With her strong love for the environment, Nicole appreciates all that she has learned about sustainability from serving on the Team with her colleagues. Her favorite personal contribution was working on the Green Product Purchasing plan to ensure that, moving forward, company cleaning products would be greener.
In the future, she’d like to work on a plan encouraging employees to adopt alternatives to single-occupant vehicle commuting.
Michelle Lubnow, Administrative Assistant
One of her main goals in joining the Sustainability & Stewardship Working Group was to bring easier and more cost-effective recycling methods to the forefront.
Kelsey Mattison, Marketing Coordinator
Kelsey gained a strong interest in sustainability while attending St. Lawrence University for her undergraduate degree where she was a member of the sustainability club on campus. She is interested in helping Princeton Hydro live their “why” by shifting the office and company culture toward cutting down on energy consumption and increasing awareness of waste production. Kelsey has enjoyed working on various sustainability initiatives with the rest of the committee members since she joined the company in 2018.
Dana Patterson, Director of Marketing & Communications
Shortly after Dana joined Princeton Hydro in 2016, she collaborated with her then colleague Rupal Patel to launch the Sustainability & Stewardship initiative. The two, who were already buddies from their graduate school days at Yale School of the Environment, felt strongly that Princeton Hydro could be driving as much energy into corporate social responsibility internally as the firm was already doing externally in its ecosystem restoration project work.
Rupal and Dana gathered interest from staff and encouraged folks from each of our five offices and all practice areas to join, and successfully formed a team with a diversity of experience and knowledge. Collaborating with this newly formed group to assemble a formal strategy plan for the firm is one of her favorite accomplishments so far. She noted, “the group displays true teamwork; everyone is involved – from a junior scientist to a member of the Leadership Team – equally contributing and sharing ideas to develop a plan that will have real impact in reducing our firm’s carbon footprint.”
Jack Szczepanski, PhD, Senior Project Manager
Jack joined the Sustainability & Stewardship Team because he felt an obligation to do his part in having as little negative environmental impact as possible, including at work. He is grateful to work at a place that features sustainability as part of its corporate culture.
Jack is determined to get the offices started on worm composting, and he enjoys having spirited discussions about this topic with his colleagues.
The Sustainability & Stewardship Team uses their passion for and knowledge of sustainable practices to implement policies and protocols company-wide that help reduce our energy use and waste input, while encouraging our employees to consider choices they make in their everyday practices. The first Sustainability & Stewardship plan was developed by the team (as well as previous team members Emily Bjorhus, Rupal Patel, and Sophie Breitbart) in 2018. Here’s a few actions that were laid out in the plan, which have since been completed:
- WASTE REDUCTION. Office engagement around waste reduction has been ramping up with new informational signage on recycling, installation of composting bins in the offices, and tapping into local programs to recycle ink cartradges. We’ve also incentivized staff to “Bring Your Own” utensils/plate for our annual picnic each year.
- GREEN PURCHASING. We created a “Green Purchasing Plan & Policy” for office supplies and products, which was formally adopted by the owners and is being implemented company-wide. Since, all offices have been eqipped with reusable kitchenware, green cleaning products are prioritized, and the marketing department has shifted to purchasing sustainable promotional products.
- STEWARDSHIP. The firm provided $10,000+ in sponsorships and donations to like-minded nonprofits organizations and held two office donation drives. Our staff volunteered to plant trees in Exton Park, PA for Arbor Day and helped install a living shoreline made from hundreds of upcycled Christmas Trees in Point Pleasant, NJ.
- WATER & ENERGY USE. The team collected office use data and outlined specific actions that each office can take to to increase energy efficiency and decrease water use in all offices.
- TRANSPORTATION. All offices have opted into carbon offset programs through Enterprise when renting vehicles, and we’ve started tracking mileage traveled for company vehicles. And, due to COVID-19, most employees drastically reduced their travel due to the shift to remote working.
While the team has been working remotely throughout most of 2020 and into 2021, the Sustainability and Stewardship team is as committed as ever to furthering Princeton Hydro’s mission of changing our ecosystems, quality of life, and communities for the better, and will continue to make progress on many of the goals outlined in our plan.
Stay Tuned for More!