Parks and outdoor interpretive organizations are always looking to green their operations. But sometimes the enthusiasm of the moment results in a “Ready, Fire!, Aim” approach when a “Ready, Aim, Fire!” approach is needed.
READY: Understand the purpose of greening the park store.
Ask the question, “What problem do you wish to solve?”
This may sound counter-intuitive, but the purpose of greening your space is not about ‘saving the planet’ or ‘protecting the environment’. While individuals and organizations may be passionate about such issues, framing a discussion around these hot-button slogans could have combustible results. Remember that a manager, co-worker, budget officer, visitor, or even a donor may have a very different perception of these words and their meanings.
The purpose of greening your organization should instead be grounded in measurable benefits like reducing waste, reusing-recycling materials, and conserving energy which aid in those correcting those other issues.
AIM: Understand the mission-based justification.
What results or benefits do you wish to obtain from greening your store? Here are three of my favorites:
- Help visitors to better understand where they are visiting.
- Gain a competitive advantage.
- A healthier bottom line.
FIRE: You take action!
Here are five helpful steps to consider as you take action.
Step 1: Scope
Document your project’s scope – this includes the project’s purpose and business justification.
Step 2: Assessment
The purpose of an assessment is to help establish a baseline for your green practices. A baseline is an original plan for a project, and any changes will be measured against the baseline.
Step 3: Implementation
This is an entire subject by itself of which future articles will be written. But here are some key points to remember when implementing your green processes.
- Build on small victories.
- Generate momentum (buy-in) for your project by demonstrating the economic benefits.
- Green activities should not be dictated from above – but rather modeled.
- Always Document processes.
Step 4: Communicate
Publish the processes on an intranet or another centralized internal website. Communicate with your donors and visitors about how you are reducing pollution, etc. Educate any front-line staff on the advantages and goals of your project.
Step 5: Measure
Refer to your original baseline and track progress at least on a monthly basis.
When greening your own operation remember a “Ready, Aim, Fire!” approach before starting a project. Understanding the purpose and the justification of the project will help you in reaching your green goals.