GREEN AMBASSADORS INTERNS COACH A VENICE-BASED BUSINESS ON SUSTAINABLE NEXT STEPS
Green Ambassadors is an environmental education and service-learning program at Environmental Charter Schools that empowers students to becoming engaged civically and environmentally in their communities. The Green Ambassadors Internship provides 10th and 11th grade students the opportunity to extend the sustainability lessons they learn in school beyond their campus through engagement with community partners.
PHASE 1: THE AUDIT
Ambassadors sat down with MaCher staff to assess their wants and needs. Ambassadors were asked to identify ways to reduce MaCher’s carbon footprint, maximize their limited office space and create a more enjoyable work environment. Green Ambassadors assessed everything from the organization’s storage to water use, workplace compost systems and a micro-urban farm. The students also evaluated ways to make the products that MaCher manufactures more sustainable. MaCher CEO, Derek Hydon, welcomed students as they delved critically into the audit, saying, “We’re excited to have you here. Our business is an open book. Please ask us anything you’d like.”
[Photo]: MaCher CEO Derek Hydon strategizing with Green Ambassadors to cultivate a plan for further greening of their products through a product life-cycle assessment.
PHASE 2: FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
After months of research, Green Ambassadors returned to the MaCher offices to present their findings and recommendations to the staff. The interns gave a comprehensive presentation, detailing improved composting systems, lighting solutions, storage solutions and water usage.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
Like Dogeared, a local jewelry company and certified B Corp that the Green Ambassadors Interns audited last year, MaCher has a strong commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices, so this exercise was meant to help them take their practices to the next level.
In keeping with their triple-bottom-line approach approach, MaCher was already preparing for LEED certification with upgrades to their building. Our students provided MaCher with insights using their knowledge of their own school campus’ LEED Platinum Certified building as a model.
[Photo]: Green Ambassadors student interns presenting their findings in MaCher’s board room.
“What stood out for me, besides the clear passion and knowledge the students bring to the table, was the really important stuff, the ‘soft skills’, that we spend a lifetime learning – or perhaps I should say ‘re-learning’ – to meaningfully connect with each other.”
– Derek Hydon, MaCher CEO
[Photo]: Green Ambassadors, MaCher and Environmental Charter Schools staffers gather for the camera on the steps of MaCher HQ in Venice, California.
MaCher will be moving forward with their plans to become LEED certified and are incorporating student ideas into their office redesign — from collaborative workspaces to energy-efficient lighting. By implementing these ideas, MaCher will also be a model for those in their professional network, creating a ripple effect of lasting change in corporate sustainability.
Says Hydon, “Kudos to all that ECHS stands for: the faculty and students. You have something quite extraordinary going on that we all experienced.”
Up next for us, through support from our partners at U.S. Green Building Council, our interns will be training and testing to become LEED Green Associates this upcoming summer!
ABOUT GREEN AMBASSADORS
A sustainability education and service-learning program at Environmental Charter Schools, Green Ambassadors empowers students to become engaged civically and environmentally in their communities. The Green Ambassadors Internship provides students with the opportunity to extend the sustainability lessons that they learn in school beyond their campus through engagement with community partners. Interns are 10th and 11th grade students who serve as "junior consultants," helping businesses to reduce their collective environmental footprint through sustainability audits.