When West Monroe amended our list of corporate values to add Social Responsibility– the only time we’ve altered the list in our 11 year history – we began seeking ways to embed the new value as part of our culture. A key question came to mind: how do we live out Social Responsibility everyday? Around the same time, West Monroe outgrew our Chicago office space – our firm’s headquarters – and began evaluating options for a new office location. As the search progressed, our firm evaluated many criteria for how to select a site that was convenient for employees, supported the local economy and still met business needs.
The search process ended with a new office build-out within a LEED®-certified building in the loop, but West Monroe also wanted to pursue LEED® certification for our own office space. Why? We wanted to set an example that as a firm we are committed to social responsibility not only for our clients and ourselves, but also for the communities in which we live and work. To start this process, we utilized the LEED® guidelines to implement green tactics to reduce energy and natural resource consumption, emissions and water use. These green guidelines allowed West Monroe to create an environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and healthy environment.
There are a variety of factors that are a part of the LEED® certification process. Below outlines some of the key areas where West Monroe focused:
- Accessibility: Employees have easy access to public transportation and do not have to travel far for everyday tasks such as lunch, filling prescriptions, going to the doctor, etc.
- The Energy Use Reduction strategy resulted in a 25% reduction in lighting power and over 75% of the office has occupancy sensors. Also we maximized natural light which provides nicer lighting levels for employees.
- Energy Star Equipment: 84.5% of all equipment and appliances are Energy Star rated, which reduces energy consumption.
- Energy Use Accountability: By installing sub-metering equipment, we can track energy usage.
- Green Power: We purchased renewable energy credits (RECs) for 100% of all offices’ energy consumption. Investing in companies that produce renewable energy (wind, solar, etc.) fosters industry growth and improves access to renewables in the US.
- The Recycling options provide convenient access for employees to recycle a range or items from paper and aluminum cans to electronics, which reduces the amount of waste in landfills.
- We recycled, reused or diverted over 75% of the construction waste and prevented it from going into landfills.
- We purchased construction materials and furniture with recycled content. The total amounted to over 25% of items with recycled content.
- Over 50% of the materials used in construction and our furniture were purchased regionally (within 500 miles of Chicago). By purchasing regionally, we helped decrease CO2 emissions that come from shipping long distances while also promoting local economies.
- All of the construction materials and furniture are low VOC, which promotes a healthier environment for employees.
These are tactical changes that helped us reach our LEED® goal, but this is only one step, and everyone must continue to do their part – both as individuals and corporations who consume and rely on our valuable natural resources. We are proud of our LEED® Gold status. But even more so, we are excited to have woven Social Responsibility – and Sustainability – into the fabric of our culture here at West Monroe.