Spotlight on the Winners: Green Business Challenge winner Unison Advisory Group
Thank you to Lynne Kaye, of the Unison Advisory Group, for answering a few questions!
1. What is your company and what is your role within that company?
I am an owner and the Managing Consultant of Unison Advisory Group. The company is a management consulting firm that helps organizations make sustainability (people, planet, products and profit) a routine part of their day-to-day businesses. We focus on the world of sports, including sports apparel and gear companies, teams, leagues and competitions. We help clients use environmental, social and economic responsibility to manage risk and to drive growth, cost savings, employee attraction and retention, and innovation.
2. What is your background this industry/how did you get to this role in your career?
I have been working with corporations on sustainability for over 20 years. My work began with a focus on economic responsibility. Thanks to client and personal interest, it has expanded to include environmental and social responsibility and the world of sports. Before founding Unison Advisory Group, I worked for major financial institutions and Hay Group, an international consulting firm. I have an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, and I am currently taking continuing education classes in sustainability through Harvard University.
3. How did your company “go green” this past year in order to win this award?
Winning the award has been a journey, and we have taken some new steps each year. This year, we completed four notable green projects.
- We reduced the energy and water use of our bathroom, and greatly improved the comfort of those who used it. We insulated everywhere and then installed radiant heat in the floors. We used tiles with 100% recycled content for the floors and shower stall. The cabinetry came from a local company. We rerouted plumbing so the hot water came on much more quickly and installed low flow fixtures. The toilet is dual flush. The room is lit with LEDs.
- We reduced our reliance on fossil fuels and reduced our carbon footprint by installing solar panels that supply between 80% and 100% of the electricity for the entire property.
- We served as the Event Chair for the Loudoun Dulles Green Business Challenge, bringing in speakers to help educate businesses on a variety of environmental responsibility topics.
- We estimated the carbon footprint of the 2015 Super Bowl and found that the food consumed by TV viewers accounted for the vast majority of the event’s carbon footprint. It turns out that people consume more calories during Super Bowl week than during any other week of the year (including Thanksgiving and Christmas).
4. Why is being green important to your business?
Being green is important to our business because consulting on environmental responsibility is a crucial part of our business. We believe responsible consulting firms act in ways that are consistent with the recommendations they give clients, and we strive to be a responsible consulting firm. Being green also lets us try new ways of doing business and innovate.
5. Is there a practical tip you could give to other business people in making their day-to-day lives “greener”?
Have a meatless Monday after the Super Bowl. Super Bowl parties are very high calorie, and based on common food choices, have large carbon footprints. Red meat has the largest carbon footprint of any type of food. Vegetables have a much smaller footprint. Help the planet by going meatless the Monday after the Super Bowl.
On a broader basis, the easiest way to “go green” is to buy from companies and other organizations that are leaders in environmental responsibility. These organizations are working very hard to shrink their environmental footprints and the footprints of their supply chains. When you buy from them, you acquire the benefit of their hard work, and you help them have the money to invest in future green innovations. In the world of sports, organizations like Patagonia, Nike, and the NHL are leaders in environmental sustainability.