ERM employees are encouraged to participate in volunteering events within their local communities.
These are often aligned with global events such as Earth Day, World Environment Day and the annual International Coastal Clean-up. These volunteering activities give employees the opportunity to make a positive contribution within their own communities, for example, by removing waste from local coastlines and waterways, assisting with conservation and tree-planting activities and participating in environmental and sustainability activities.
Supporting Sustainability at the High School Level in Seattle Washington
Facing the Future, a nonprofit located in Seattle, Washington., dedicated to developing sustainability-related curricula for K-12 students, was awarded $5,000 by The ERM foundation to develop a high school sustainability textbook — the first of its kind. Previously, there had not been a high school textbook that met education standards for social studies, civics and related classes that dealt comprehensively with the major sustainability issues of our time.
Through the unique partnership with Facing the Future, consultants from ERM's Western Division in the United States provided substantive input for this educational resource by reviewing and commenting on the Energy and Sustainability chapter of the textbook. In June 2013, the textbook, Exploring Global Issues: Social, Economic, and Environmental Interconnections, was released officially. The book release party was held at the McKinstry Innovation Center in Seattle and was well-attended by teachers and supporters of Facing the Future, including ERM Partner Paul Hausmann and project proponent Michael Mendes.
Reef Rehabilitation in the Dominican Republic
The coral reefs around La Caleta in the Dominican Republic have been badly affected by overfishing, water contamination and the destructive anchoring techniques of local boats. This has had an extremely negative impact on marine life. Since 2008, employees from ERM's Frankfurt office have been working with a local conservation group to restore the coral reefs. This initiative has involved extensive fundraising and in-country technical support to install underwater constructions designed to foster the growth of endemic corals and marine species. The team also has supported local fishermen to promote sustainable fishing practices, as overfishing has been a significant problem in recent decades. The long-term objective of the project is to create a living habitat for a variety of marine species and to promote sustainable eco-tourism in the area.
Since 2008, the Frankfurt team has raised around $10,000 (including company matching funds) to support this initiative and, in FY14, the team provided 40 hours of in-country technical support plus a significant number of additional volunteering hours.
Tejaswini Raval, Mumbai, India
Wondering 'What Next?'
After joining ERM in August 2013, I was surprised to learn the scale of commitment and investment a consulting company can provide in the sustainability space. While it is common for multinational corporations to organize events on World Environment Day, the ERM Foundation goes beyond that and the LCEF has been supporting some life-changing projects. Merely knowing this is inspirational and gives a sense of pride to work with a company like ERM!
The consulting profession can be very busy and sometimes we give up on our hobbies and passions. The ERM Foundation provides an easy avenue to serve the community and environment. Personally, I keep thinking "What next?" After organizing a beach cleanup event in 2013, participating in an international event for the LCEF and exploring technology support for a startup team this year, I am now excited to roll out an Environmental Outreach Program for school children across India.