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Commitment to Sustainability

Spencer Organ Company, Inc. is committed to doing business in a different way. Rather than just focusing on our bottom financial line, we are working towards a triple bottom line by adding the welfare of people and planet to the traditional bottom line of profit. We are continually seeking to improve the environmental sustainability of our operations and always have an eye toward those affected by our work – employees, clients, vendors, and surrounding communities. We are also expanding the scope of our impact beyond our particular company to the policy level with advocacy on various sustainability issues.

Sustainability Efforts

Physical operations

For the past few years we have been working to reduce our environmental impact of our physical operations. In 2010 an 11-kilowatt photovoltaic system was installed on the roof of our shop facility, which provides half of our electricity needs. We have also been working to reduce the environmental footprint of our shop by switching to more efficient compact fluorescent lighting and other efficiency measures. We’ve increased the fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet with a Dodge Sprinter van (average 25 mpg), a Ford Escape Hybrid (average 28 mpg), and a Toyota Prius Hybrid (average 45 mpg). We are seeking ways to reduce the toxicity of materials we use, use recycled materials whenever possible, and follow safe disposal practices for all hazardous materials. Where ever possible, we reduce, reuse and recycle.

In 2012 we went through the green certification Sustainable Business Leader Program. This sustainability audit and certification program helped us to identify over 40 areas for improvement and a sustainability action plan to implement them. We would highly recommend this program to any company, or the Sustainable Community Leader Program to any non-profit. Not only have our sustainability efforts helped our company to run better, but have also saved us considerable money.

Social Impact

In addition to our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint, we offer a livable wage to our employees and a benefits package that includes health care, a socially responsible retirement plan, and vacation time. We strive to be a voice for social equity in our larger community. SOC president, Joseph Rotella has testified at the State Capitol a number of times and participated in advocacy events in Washington D.C. on a number of issues including fairness in taxation and raising the minimum wage. He has participated in events organized by both Businesses for Shared Prosperity and the American Sustainable Business Council.

In 2010 we started a garden in the parking lot at our shop facility that provides some fresh produce throughout the summer months. We also have a CSA (community-sponsored-agriculture) share for company employees that provides local organic produce.

Green Summer Challenge

In 2012 we started the first annual SOC Green Summer Challenge. The Green Summer Challenge is a weekly challenge by which employees are invited to complete seven or more activities that improve the sustainability of their environmental footprint and increase overall wellbeing in their own lives and in their communities. Activities fall under seven categories including:

  • Reducing our Transportation Emissions Toward Zero
  • Increasing the Sustainability of the Food We Eat
  • Learning how to be More Sustainable and Re-skill
  • Taking Care of our Health and Wellbeing
  • Reducing our Negative Impact on the Environment, Increasing our Positive Impact
  • Supporting Local Economies and Reducing our Dependence on the Money Economy
  • Getting Involved with Our Communities

We (usually) hold weekly meetings when employees can report the activities they have engaged in, reflect on how it worked out or didn’t, and plan for activities they would like to engage in the coming week. It has been a valuable opportunity for us to think about some of our daily choices and reorient them to be more sustainable, while learning from and being inspired by the experience of others.

Local Economies

Spencer Organ Company, Inc. strongly believes in the importance of relocalization of our economies and has been an active participant in the local economies movement. President Joseph Rotella has served on the advisory board of the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts since 2011.

In 2013, Spencer Organ Company, Inc. played a lead role in the founding of Waltham Local First – an association of independently and locally owned businesses in Waltham. Our purpose is to contribute to a strong local economy and vibrant community by educating the public about the value of shopping locally.

Whenever possible, we purchase supplies from local and independently owned establishments. We are a proud patron of our local hardware store: Swartz True Value.

Climate Action Liaison Coalition

Realizing the civilization-changing nature of climate change, Spencer Organ Company, Inc. joined the Climate Action Liaison Coalition (CALC) in spring of 2013.

As a part of CALC we have hired a part-time employee as a Climate Action Liaison (CAL). Recognizing the strong and unique voice small businesses have in the media and in policy arenas, we are building a small business voice for bold and responsible action on climate change. In addition to advocacy, member businesses strive to reduce the carbon emissions of their internal operation and also work within the local communities of which they are a part to build resilience. Our aim is both to mitigate the worst effects of climate change that we can avoid and to adapt to the climate changes we cannot avoid with as much preparation and grace as possible.