Sharing the sustainable knowledge

Portsmouth firm helps businesses create and promote sustainable initiatives


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For the last 14 years, Calypso Communications, a Portsmouth-based company that wears three hats as a marketing agency, a public relations firm and a national branding agency, has made it easier for clients to share their sustainability efforts across multiple communication channels.

Calypso’s Corporate Social Responsibility program was created with not only clients’ values in mind but its own as well.

In 2013, Calypso made Becky Holt its full-time sustainability professional. It’s her job to help assist clients in sharing their missions and following through with projects through the program. She said that in the last few years, more people have started to jump on the sustainability bandwagon, making her job increasingly more important and necessary.

“I do a lot of the writing and a lot of brainstorming for new and creative ideas to spread [a company’s] message. I help with developing a voice for a company or an organization around what they do in sustainability or what they’d like to be doing,” she said. “Calypso is a great company that allows its people to really get creative and dive in on their ideas.”

For instance, the company helped one client develop its own K-8 science and sustainability curriculum for a Detroit school. During each lesson, students are able to participate in hands-on activities, such as building a solar oven, learning how to compost, and how to take care of a garden.

“Every week, employees from this company would go over to the school and teach a science lesson,” said Holt. “These are life skills that kids can really take home with them.”

Holt also attends informational sessions and conferences centered on sustainable business models, allowing her to stay up-to-date on current trends and practices. Last year, for example, Holt said she attended the Greenbuild conference in Pennsylvania, where she learned about sustainable building practices.

The impact on Calypso’s business has been increasingly positive and beneficial, Holt says. When approached by new clients, they are often asked about their sustainability programs and how they can incorporate some of their own. 

“I think it’s catching on in the sense that you don’t want to be the one left out, not doing this,” she said. “People are latching on to this because they’re finding that employee happiness is good for retention, which is good for profit.”

When it comes to advising other business looking to include environmental or social initiatives, Holt said the first step can be a simple employee engagement program, like volunteering at some charitable event.

“It’s such a no-brainer on a human level that I think it’s making more sense [to have sustainability programs], even for the big guys who were resistant for a while,” Holt said.

The “Just One Thing” Campaign is an 18-month effort of New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility. Its purpose is to challenge businesses to consider incorporating a sustainability initiative into their operations. Companies can celebrate their achievements and inspire others by sharing their stories on the campaign’s webpage.

To submit your story or read others, visit nhbsr.org/jot.

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