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AEA's GREEN INITIATIVE: A WORK IN PROGRESS

Changes AEA has implemented to lessen our environmental impact, and the year that each was started:

*  2011: Staff milestone reached with over half of all AEA staff hours performed via telecommuting -Why?- Decrease travel costs, increase access to specialized expertise, increase family-friendly workplace policies

*  2011: AEA begins Data/Mine project exploring AEA data sets with the first set highlighted being journal subscription types -Why?- Increase knowledge of AEA's electronic-only subscription option, highlight our efforts in this area, and demonstrate data visualization software

*  2011: AEA Board convenes Environmental Sustainability Task Force -Why?- Examine whether and how issues of Environmental Sustainability should be incorporated into AEA's policies

*  2010: AEA partners with SAGE and the Arbor Day Foundation to donate a tree for every association member who opts for online-only delivery of the American Journal of Evaluation

*  2010: Board members begin receiving ride-sharing information for each Board meeting -Why?- Decrease emissions and taxi costs

*  2010: Revise instructions to presenters to encourage handouts comprised of only what is to be used at the conference with electronic distribution of other materials -Why?- Decrease printing

*  2009: Restructure membership renewal reminders to encourage online renewal and to send hardcopy renewals later in cycle after many have renewed online -Why?- Reduce paper consumption, reduce printing and mailing costs

*  2009: Members given the option to access journals only electronically -Why?- Decrease number of journals printed

*  2009: Online eLibrary available for conference handouts -Why?- Download only what you need, view materials from other sessions, save paper and increase access

*  2009: This page developed and website sections marked with AEA's Go Green Logo -Why?- Promote AEA's greening efforts, serve as a resource for sharing and learning with and from other associations

*  2009: Ride-share options posted at conference -Why?- Decrease carbon emissions from transportation 

*  2009: Conference attendees encouraged to give direct feedback to hotels on environmental efforts and hotels informed in advance of this intention -Why?- Encourage environmental responsibility and apply positive pressure on our vendors 

*  2009: Board articulates provisional ends/goals policies, including, "AEA will contribute to society through acting, and encouraging members, partners, and vendors to act, in a socially responsible manner" -Why?- Further articulate and expand scope of commitment

*  2008: Conducted environmental audit of office practices -Why?- Resulted in decrease in air-conditioning, decrease in paper-use, expansion of recycling options, decrease in overall electrical consumption, and expansion of telecommuting options

*  2008: Conference evaluation incorporates feedback on greening efforts -Why?- Inform decision-making and improve responsiveness 

*  2008: Encourage attendees to bring own conference bags/totes -Why?- Over 1,000 people opted to bring their own bags, reducing production, reusing favorites, and decreasing conference costs, helping to delay a rate increase

*  2008: Switched from traditional plastic name-badges to biodegradable corn-plastic name-badges -Why?- Limit permanent waste

*  2008: Began working with hotels and local vendors to recycle residual conference waste following events -Why?- Helps preserve natural resources and reduces the need for raw materials

*  2008: Began initiatives to reduce unnecessary printed emails -Why?- Further institutionalizes and articulates the association's commitment to reducing environmental waste

*  2008: Board articulates its statement of values, including "We value efficient, effective, responsive, transparent, and socially responsible association operations" -Why?- Further institutionalizes and articulates the association's commitment

*  2007: Switch from single-sided to double-sided as standard for printing and materials distributed to members and used by staff and the Board -Why?- Saves over 50,000 sheets of paper per year

*  2007: Board votes that "as part of  their decision-making processes, the AEA Board, Committees, and [staff] consider the environmental impact of policy, product, and service alternatives" -Why?- Institutionalizes the association's commitment 

*  2007: Two-column format and updated font for program -Why?- 60 pages fewer per program, over 150,000 fewer printed each year and improved readability

*  2007: First time full-time tele-commuting staff person hired -Why?- Decrease travel costs, increase access to specialized expertise

*  2007: Water, tea, lemonade, or cider at conference afternoon breaks -Why?- 10,000 fewer cans used annually than when soda is offered

*  2007: Change office light bulbs to ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescents - Why?- Each uses 3/4ths less energy to produce the same amount of light and lasts up to 10 times longer

 

*  2007: Formally incorporated tele-commuting so that 2/3 of staff hours are completed without a commute -Why?- Decrease the carbon footprint of office staff, and increase flexibility and capacity to draw on talent from around the country

*  2006: Use reusable event signage rather than single-use signs -Why?- Limit waste disposed of after events and decrease recurring costs

*  2006: Developed web-based program to give workshop presenters real-time access to attendee lists - Why?- Allowed for pre-distribution of materials for online reading and more accurate predictions of attendance, thus decreasing over-printing, while encouraging dialogue between presenters and attendees

*  2005: Eliminate hardcopy mailed event registration materials -Why?- Limit paper and waste, contain costs

*  2004: Reformat conference program index -Why?- Halve the index length, limit paper and waste, contain costs

*  2003: Source purchases locally to events when possible and pay premium of up to 10% to do so -Why?- Decreased carbon emissions due to transportation of materials 

*  2002: Use reusable rather than disposable serviceware as default at events -Why?- Less waste 

*  2001: Collateral materials removed from conference bags -Why?- 25,000 fewer pages printed annually, less waste, time saved, event attendees are encouraged to gather materials from vendors and information tables

*  2001: Disproportionately order vegetarian food options -Why?- Vegetarian foods use fewer resources to grow and produce than meat-based offerings and when well-selected appeal to both vegetarian and meat-eating attendees

*  2001: Limit food waste through strategic ordering and careful consumption tracking -Why?- Decrease waste and manage food costs 

*  2000: AEA members start, and the Board approves, the Environmental Programs Evaluation TIG -Why?- Provide environmental evaluators an association 'home'

*  1999: Put event registration and renewal options online -Why?- Decrease waste and transportation costs, expand options for members, decrease processing costs and processing errors

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