By Sharon Morris
The natural environment sustains the life of all beings universally. – Dalai Lama
Last week Focal Pointe representatives attended the St. Louis Green Business Challenge kick-off seminar, held at the Commerce Bank Center for Science Education in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Green Business Challenge, a program of the Missouri Botanical Garden, supports integration of sustainability measures into the kinds of everyday operational practices common to every business. Since the program launched ten years ago, 216 companies – representing more than 150,000 employees – have joined the Challenge. Focal Pointe joined in 2018 and earned an Award of Achievement, Apprentice Level.
With growing excitement about the next year of the Challenge, three members of Focal Pointe’s seven-member Green Team – Cody Azotea, Sharon Morris, and Candice Winkelman – attended the seminar’s resource fair, where participating companies, including Focal Pointe, were on hand to talk to program newcomers and present strategies to improve sustainability practices.
Some of Focal Pointe’s initiatives include:
- Implementing an active idling monitoring program to reduce emissions and fuel use. Utilizing vehicle GPS units to track idling, drivers receive a text alert anytime their vehicle is left idling longer than 5 minutes. This has greatly reduced idling companywide.
- Reducing landscape plastic pot waste by redirecting a portion back to local growers for reuse. Other plastic pot waste is taken to Central Paper Stock for recycling.
- Increasing the use of native plant material in designs and installations including rain gardens, bio-swales, green roofs, etc. Focal Pointe provides ongoing training for employees and partners with clients to promote the benefits of these gardens and plants.
- Using high recycled-content paper products in the office.
- Reducing company use of non-recyclable materials.
To educate others about the benefits of native plant material, Focal Pointe gave away seedlings of Eastern Wahoo, a native replacement to the traditional Burning Bush plant, which is an invasive species. Invasive species compete with native plants for moisture, nutrients, and sunlight and often decrease overall plant diversity.
With nearly 80 people in attendance, Focal Pointe’s representatives enjoyed spreading the word about the company’s green initiatives and helping others learn more about the natural environment.