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White Wave empowering employees

Having just returned from meetings and lunch at the White Wave headquarters in Broomfield, Colo., I feel buoyed by the efforts this billion-dollar company is making in what its founder, Steve Demos, called responsible livelihood.

The office's low-VOC paint and recycled carpeting are one thing, but I was impressed by how much the 450-person staff is encouraged to help its community. WV’s Values in Action program keeps track of employee’s volunteer activities (more than 5 thousand hours in 2009) such as working at the local food bank, how often a bus is taken to work (5,350 in 2009) or when a book on green living is read. The company’s holiday party last year was scaled back and the resources saved were given to the local food bank.

While enjoying a lunch of organic salad and homemade soup (offered every day in the cafeteria), I learned that soon a truck would deliver mulch in the amount of what employees had been putting into the office compost bins the past year; employees could then take home whatever mulch they wanted.

It is empowerment at the employee level such as this that creates a truly sustainable workplace and sets our industry apart.

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