Five for Friday: Five Ways National Geographic is Going Green

I’m frequently asked, often with a tinge of skepticism, what National Geographic (MWW’s parent organization) is doing to “go green.” As an organization with a 100+ year history of “increasing and diffusing geographic knowledge” and a sexy mission statement of “inspiring people to care about the planet”–it’s undoubtedly a fair question.

NGGreen1.jpgFirst, the boring disclaimer: As a non-partisan, non-profit/media organization, the National Geographic Society (NG) generally avoids pure-form advocacy. Rather than taking hard-line stances, we aim for objective reporting.

However, to the extent that a general consensus exists over the need to conserve the world’s resources, we’re on board! And there are a number of things we’re doing as an organization to that end. So, to round out what we’re calling “Earth Week,” this Five for Friday I’m describing–you guessed it–five of those initiatives.

1. Go Green. About two years ago, Nat Geo launched the “Go Green” initiative to define and reduce the Society’s environmental impact. Seven subcommittees were formed to tackle issues relating to corporate practices and facilities worldwide: buildings, cafeteria, carbon, employee practices, internal communication & education, purchasing, products & packaging, and travel.

2. LEED Certification. Following careful renovations and retrofitting, NG headquarters in Washington, D.C. became the first existing facility in the country to receive prestigious LEED certification, as well as Energy Star certification.

3.  National Geographic magazine is currently in the final stages of the most thorough carbon analysis undertaken by any publisher.

4.The cafeteria at HQ features one of few corporate composting
programs in the country. It also provides an array of organic options,
sources food locally as much as possible, and serves only sustainable

5. Transportation. NG hosts an annual ECOmmuting Awareness Day
that has been recognized by the Washington Metropolitan Council of
Governments and Commuter Connections. Carpool connection services, bike
racks, and pre-tax Metro benefits further encourage sustainable travel.
Internationally, NG’s Expeditions travel group purchases carbon offsets for each trip it offers.

NGGreen2.jpgDoes your workplace have a green initiative? I urge you to find out
what your company is doing, get involved, and then tell us about it!

And because going green doesn’t stop after Earth Week, next week I’ll focus on five ways I’m getting mossy on a personal level.

Sarah Jane for My Wonderful World

This content was adapted from an article on the NG Intranet written by Julie Crain, Green Committee supervising editor.

Photos of NG green practices by Meghan Seldon.

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