WTS Portland Chapter Sustainability Policy November 2008

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WTS Portland Chapter Sustainability Policy November 2008 Powered By Docstoc
					                        WTS Portland Chapter Sustainability Policy
                                    November 2008
The WTS Portland Chapter, along with public agencies and private companies across the world, has
taken the initiative to review its activities in order to make them more sustainable. Sustainability was
defined by the United Nations in 1987 as the ability to “meet present needs without compromising
the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” The Natural Step process, developed by a
consensus of Swedish scientists led by Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt in 1989, provides a more detailed
sustainability definition. The steps cover the “sustainable triple bottom line” – environment, equity,
and economy. The Natural Step rules are elaborated below as to their meaning for WTS.
1. Avoid Non- Renewable Resources i.e., avoid increasing the concentration of substances extracted from
   the earth's crust. To limit resource use WTS can reduce materials used in its operations and events
   (e.g., paper, water, and fuel), increase material reuse and recycling, and purchase recycled-content
   products. Additionally as a transportation organization, WTS can highlight transportation
   policies and construction practices that reduce fuel use.
2. Avoid Toxic Buildup i.e., avoid systematic increases in persistent toxic substances that remain in the
   environment for many years. To limit toxins WTS can reduce pesticides (e.g., buy organic food), and
   toxic cleaning products (e.g., by caterers and event venues), as well as avoid use of materials that
   generate toxins in their production.
3. Promote Biodiversity i.e., avoid taking more from the biosphere than can be replenished by natural systems.
   To preserve biodiversity, WTS can purchase local seasonal foods, and highlight transportation
   and land use policies that avoid displacing habitat or adversely impacting the environment.
4. Promote Social Equity i.e., avoid conditions that systematically undermine the capacity of any group to meet
   their intrinsic needs. This step support’s WTS mission to promote women and diversity within the
   transportation industry and within WTS leadership. Through its programs, WTS can encourage
   social equity in transportation policy decisions, by increasing public participation and
   transparency, and holding actors accountable.
5. Long Term Economic Viability i.e., ensure actions are economically viable and community supportive.
   WTS funds can be invested in socially responsible and/or community banking accounts, while
   WTS leadership succession planning an increases chapter longevity.
One specific sustainability issue resulting from this framework is the scientific consensus that
increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) from humans are contributing to a long-term
climate change with significant consequences for the earth and its peoples. In the US,
transportation is the second largest source of GHG emissions, after electricity generation. WTS can
have significant influence in its chapter activities as well as influence on the transportation industry
with regards to reductions in GHG emissions, education about the climate issues, and influence on
transportation policy to reduce GHG and adapt to a warmer world.
With these objectives in mind, the Portland WTS Chapter strives to conduct our business and
activities in a sustainable manner, most specifically in Board and committee operations,
communications, and member activities. The WTS Chapter will also make every effort to raise the
awareness of environmental, social, and economic sustainability in our programs/events and with
our membership. Key changes include using locally and sustainably made goods and services
whenever possible, communicating electronically instead of with paper, banking with socially
responsible institutions, implementing chapter leadership succession planning, promoting
alternatives to driving and driving alone, and educating our membership about climate change.
The following general sustainability elements will be incorporated in the WTS Portland Chapter
Protocols. These changes include updates to chapter policies regarding the work of WTS Chapter
leadership and committees in the broad areas discussed below. Additionally, the defined
responsibilities of each Chapter board member and committee chair will be updated to include
sustainability, where appropriate.
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General Sustainability guidelines related to all board and committees include the following:
Communications
Goal: Reduce the amount of paper by conducting business electronically whenever possible.
   1) Disseminate local board and committee minutes, memos, ballots and reports via email.
   2) Disseminate newsletters and chapter annual reports by email to members and interested
       parties.
   3) Send all invitations for luncheons, special events, professional development, via email.
   4) Submit reports to WTS International electronically.
   5) Use smart board technology when available to reduce paper materials at meetings.
   6) Post materials on the WTS website (newsletters, bylaws, other documents).
   7) Conduct voting and polling via email.

Travel
Goal: Encourage “green” travel to events, committee meetings, trainings and conferences.
   1) Encourage use of alternative modes to WTS local events, including providing modal
       information in meeting announcements (e.g., transit, carpooling, biking, walking).
   2) Encourage alternative transportation for those attending local and national events.
   3) Conduct meetings via email or phone when possible.
   4) For out of town travel, look for hybrid rental cars and room sharing..

Venue Selection
Goal: Select “green” venues committed to sustainable practices for luncheons, events and meetings.
   1) When possible, rent LEED1 certified venues.
   2) Employ caterers that use local and in-season products.
   3) Use re-usable plates, cups and cutlery.
   4) Employ strong recycling policies.
   5) Use caterer’s that donate food purchased but unused (e.g., provide to homeless shelters).
   6) Use electronic presentation technology (e.g., smart boards, in-focus) to reduce paper.

Sustainable and Recycling Practices
Goal: Look for opportunities to utilize sustainable recycled items and companies.
   1) Use recycled paper for awards and items that must be hard-copied
   2) Patronize vendors who use local and recycled products
   3) When possible, provide food that is grown or produced locally
   4) Conserve water by using tap water rather than bottled water where possible
   5) Limit disposable flatware, paper cups, and packaging at Board and committee meetings.
   6) Reuse materials (name tags, posters, table tents). Continually monitor our sustainability
       practices and share with other chapters what we are doing and learn from them.




                                          
1
 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a certification program created by the U.S. Green
Building Council to measure the energy efficiency of buildings. Points are awarded for such things as solar
orientation, day-lighting, use of recycled materials, and proximity to transit. Buildings are rated silver, gold, and
platinum depending on their total score.
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WTS Board Officers and Committee Chair Sustainability Practices:
President Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer:
In addition to the general guidelines listed above, the officers of the WTS Portland Chapter will
incorporate sustainable activities within the management of the board and its operations including
the following modifications of existing responsibilities:
        Engage in proactive succession planning in filling board positions, including contacting
        board member nine months before term expires and encouraging committees to recruit new
        volunteers for committees and other chapter activities.
        Submit quarterly & annual reports electronically to International Board and International
        Liaison.
        Facilitate and support other Board members in achieving their goals and responsibilities
        related to sustainability.
        Monitor and fine tune implementation and bring ideas from other Chapters to and from
        Portland.
        Archive records electronically, including bylaws, protocols.
        Post By-Laws and protocols on WTS website.
        Share monthly Treasurer’s report and event summary in electronic format.
        Conduct budget and budget negotiations in an electronic format, with Quicken as the base
        software, rather than using paper-based financial records.
        Conduct check requests and billings for event no-shows by phone or email.
        Complete and submit IRS forms to WTS International electronically.
        Encourage credit card payments in order to reduce paper required in paying by check.
        Invest chapter funds in Socially Responsible bank, account and/or funds.
And the following new responsibilities will be added:
        Conduct a periodic review of sustainability efforts.
        Share Portland Chapter sustainable policies and actions with WTS International as
        appropriate.
        Help identify other organizational partners and programs that focus on sustainability and
        opportunities for partnerships between those groups and WTS Portland.
        Encourage WTS International to purchase WTS supplied from sustainable vendor, including
        sending letter to vendor indicating desired sustainable practices. This would include items
        used as gifts to speakers and honored guests (e.g., umbrellas, pens).
        Encourage WTS International to invest WTSS funds in socially responsible account.

Events/Programs/Professional Development:
In addition to the general guidelines listed above, committees and committee chairs will incorporate
sustainable efforts within their activities including the following modifications of existing
responsibilities:
        Maintain electronic database of Chapter members (e.g. website yahoo email account).
        Keep program/event attendance records electronically to reduce paper.
        Minimize handouts at professional development events.
And the following new responsibilities will be added:
        Include elements of environment and sustainability in our discussions of topics for events
        (e.g. bike tours, green streets, etc).
        Include programs/events/education about alternative transportation modes and sustainable
        practices within the industry.
        Offer more luncheon topics and special event tours on transportation options and
        sustainability practices in the transportation industry.
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 Fundraising:
In addition to the general guidelines listed above, the fundraising committee and committee chair
will incorporate sustainable efforts within their activities including the following modifications of
existing responsibilities:
        Do not send fundraising letters to all members (as of 2008).
        Send fundraising letters to corporate sponsors - including invitation to sponsor WTS,
        sponsorship brochure, and confirmation of sponsorship - via email instead of regular mail.
        Reuse table tents (listing donors) at luncheons, instead of printing a new set for each lunch.
And the following new responsibilities will be added:
        Review how fundraising benefits could be made more sustainable.

Awards/ Scholarship:
In addition to the general guidelines listed in above, the Awards and Scholarship committees and
committee chairs will incorporate sustainable efforts within their activities including the following
modifications of existing responsibilities:
        Send scholarship announcements to schools via email to reduce paper use.
        Submit awards nominations submitted electronically.
        Eliminate the need to duplicate hard copies of scholarship applications for committee
        review, by scanning applications into a PDF, for electronic distribution.
        Review awards and scholarship applications using a laptop and projector rather than using
        hard copies.
And the following new responsibilities will be added:
        Require scholarship applicants to explain how they plan to employ sustainable practices in
        their upcoming careers.
        Encourage scholarship applicants to apply for the scholarships online, rather than with a
        hard copy application. This would require that WTS invest time (and possibly money
        depending on software requirements) to create a web interface for applicants to apply online.

Outreach/Membership/Newsletter/Website:
In addition to the general guidelines listed above, the Outreach/Membership/Newsletter/ Website
committees and committee chairs will incorporate sustainable efforts within their activities including
the following modifications of existing responsibilities:
        Use electronic rather than paper member communication, including use of email as well as
        annual report and newsletter in PDF format to minimize paper use.
        Use digital photos and a shared chapter photo website rather than using shared files on CDs.
        Send membership recruitment/follow-up letters signed by President regarding benefits of
        membership by email as a PDF email attachment.
And the following new responsibilities will be added:
        Identify and increase strategic outreach to organizations and individuals who prioritize and
        focus on sustainability directly or indirectly related to transportation.
        Highlight projects in Chapter newsletter that have employed sustainable practices.




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