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Personal Responsibility and Sustainability Policy

July 20, 2009

I love the idea of corporate social  responsibility and sustainability policies. Hell, even if they don’t stick to it – even putting it out there as important helps the national dialogue.  Of course, I wish they did practice what they preach, and part of the reason I am going to grad school is to help figure out how companies can simultaneously become better global citizens and improve their bottom line. I truly don’t believe any change is really going to happen until we make it economically advantageous – and there are some great books written on the subject.  Even just Wal-Mart’s new initiatives will really start having a tremendous impact on our environment.  I was thrilled to have recently been asked to write a corporate responsibility and sustainability policy for my company, and it really got me thinking about what I really do in my personal life.

I try to be a good person, and “live green” but man oh man, do I fall short. In my head, and intellectually – I would probably be  a locavore vegetarian, and only shop at the farmer’s market. Everything would be reused and recycled and I would get around town on my bike.  In truth, I spend many a weekend at Stop&Shop buying imported food, and sometimes I even take long car rides, just to get out of town. I carry around a cloth bag – but don’t always remember to use it and while I recycle at home, I’m a lot more laissez-faire than I would like.  Being a good, responsible steward of the Earth certainly can be done, even if you live in NYC. I am just lazy. Embarassingly lazy.

So, I wanted to come up with some stuff that I could point to and say “Okay, I can commit to these things. At the very least – this is what I can do.” Here is how I can promise that my actions demonstrate my thought process.

Personal Responsibility and Sustainability Policy

1. I will recycle in my own home

2. I will call up any unwanted magazines/vendors and ask to be removed from their mailing lists

3. I will not purchase any cosmetic items that have been tested on animals

4. When financially feasible, I will choose organic meats, produce and dairy

5. I will reduce my purchases of “individually wrapped” things

6. I will carry my handy reusable bags

7. I won’t litter – you’ll never catch me leaving things on the subway, or dropping gum-wrappers willy-nilly

8. I will drive courteously and responsibly – and keep my car in good working order to minimize environmental impact

9. I will be an active and informed voter in local and national elections

10. I will donate to responsible charities and participate in micro-loans

11. I  am going to declare a few days of the week as “vegetarian only”

I am sure there are others, and this list isn’t limited to the only things I am willing to do – but it is stuff I am pretty comfortable declaring publicly that I can stick with. What’s not on here that should be? What’s on your list?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2009 10:30 pm

    Check out, which makes it easier to get removed from catalog mailing lists (in most cases).

    And that’s awesome that your company asked you to write a sustainability policy for them!

  2. July 21, 2009 11:59 am

    This is so great! 🙂

  3. July 23, 2009 2:07 pm

    I think this is an excellent list … However, some of your goals are a little vague (“I will be an active and informed voter”) and I often think it’s easier to stick to goals if they are very specific – and then you can have a more vague overarching mission statement as well.

    For example, my new recycling goals are to keep a compost bag in my freezer and make A take it to the farmer’s market on his way to work and to reuse plastic ziplock bags (unless they contained meat).

    Anyway, just a small thought. Overall, great!

    • July 23, 2009 2:07 pm

      also, how do you participate in micro-loans? I’m very interested …

      • July 23, 2009 3:12 pm

        I definitely agree that my goals are somewhat vague. I tried to avoid it, but the truth is – I don’t know much I can commit to some things. So, as long as I am always doing something, I am kind of okay with it.

        As for microloans – I use It’s great! From their website – Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

        Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

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