Badger challenges employees to eat sustainably

Committee spearheads several initiatives at Gilsum manufacturer

Personal care products maker W.S. Badger in Gilsum has long been a socially-minded and mission-driven company and is committed to integrating sustainable practices across the board, from its supply chain to its minimal processing of natural ingredients to how the company implements its own programs and initiatives.

At last fall’s New Hampshire Business for Social Responsibility Sustainability Slam, Dee Fitzgerald, Badger’s marketing and public relations manager, asked the audience, “How do you create a company culture of sustainability that focuses on positive outcomes, inclusivity, accessibility, honesty and openness all while keeping it fresh and fun?” Badger’s solution was to form a sustainability committee comprised of representatives from all of the company’s different departments.

Initially charged with looking into ways to reduce waste and improve impact and efficiency, the committee now spearheads several different initiatives throughout the year. Most notable are the committee-led trash audits (resulting in a 77% reduction of waste), roadside cleanups, use of cloth napkins and air dryers in place of their single-use counterparts, and purchases of renewable energy credits and carbon offsets.

In addition to sharing presentations, posters and newsletters on the environmental impact of different food choices, Badger’s sustainability committee’s educational campaign culminated in an interactive demonstration for employees during lunch. As part of this staged demonstration, employees walked distances representing how far their food traveled to get to them. For example, participants had to walk further for choices like tuna, which are sourced from 8,000 miles away, than choices like local, organic veggies, which Badger employees can now grow themselves at the company’s on-site Climate Victory Garden.

“It’s a great way to get everyone thinking about their personal choices when shopping for food, and a relatable way for them to conceptualize their carbon footprint,” says Fitzgerald. “Badger is actively engaged in this kind of work. We practice what we speak and encourage our employees to follow suit. The Climate Victory Garden provides an educational opportunity around regenerative agriculture and soil health. It also enables employees to grow and tend their own veggies before work, during breaks or at the end of the day.”

Editor’s note: Throughout the year, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility collects “Just One Thing” stories of sustainability initiatives from businesses across the state. These efforts are then showcased as part of the organization’s Sustainability Slam, held in the fall. To submit your own Just One Thing story, visit nhbsr.org.

Categories: Just One Thing