GST’s GREEN PHILOSOPHY
When the cost of oil raced past $130 per barrel and gas prices rose above $4.00 per gallon in 2008, many of us questioned our driving habits and the use of petroleum-based products. Escalating prices affect our disposable income and force us to change our patterns of consumption. We have identified the enemy and the enemy is our dependence on petroleum. Even with some of the recent decreases in the cost of gas, many people are becoming a little bit greener today than they were yesterday. One thing is certain and that is that we will see higher prices at the pump again; the question of course, is when.
At our 2008 corporate retreat, GST decided to embrace a "green" philosophy to address our dependence on petroleum (as both a company and as individual employees) and the threat that global warming has to life on Earth. We recognize that there are as many definitions of green as there are shades of green. Ours is the following:
GST's business strategy reflects our values of being a responsible corporation to its employees, customers, communities, and the environment.
Specifically, the GST green philosophy speaks to three objectives: 1) to manage our internal resources to reduce energy resource consumption; 2) to provide products and services to our customers that assist with reducing their energy resource consumption; and 3) to create a business infrastructure that positions us to obtain a significant return on our investment to meet our business objectives while addressing our customers’ challenges and needs related to sustainability.
We have been managing our internal resources to reduce the amount of energy we use, the amount of trash we produce, and maximizing the ways we recycle. GST has established a Green Committee that meets monthly to identify ways to save resources and reduce energy consumption within GST. Some of the accomplishments to date include encouraging employee carpooling; posting suggestions for saving energy and natural resources; placing bins in the office for recycling paper, magazines, and plastic bottles; promoting the use of coffee mugs to reduce the use of styrofoam cups; providing each employee a tote bag to reduce the use of plastic bags; and providing a water cooler to reduce the number of plastic water bottles. We are also replacing desktop computers with laptops (as needed) to reduce energy consumption.
Green Products and Services
GST is meeting our second objective by providing products and services as per our green philosophy. GST is in the business of managing environmental data, or more specifically, climate data. We manage NOAA's electronic library of NOAA environmental data known as the Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS). CLASS archives are a national asset that holds many answers to current and future issues related to the well being of our planet. Managing this archive enables us to work with the private sector to provide customers with information products for decision support related to impacts of climate change. GST provides Electronic Government (E-Gov) services that dramatically reduce paper and resource use of Government transactions.
Our Weather Group has recently refocused their business strategy to concentrate on enhancing the information infrastructure of small countries and island nations to better serve their sustainable (green) development efforts. GST is also combining efforts with West Virginia University to build and support The Sustainability Institute as a green resource for the state and the nation. GST is and will continue to grow these efforts and other efforts that will keep us a green company.
The investment we make in our business infrastructure is critically important to the future of our business. The business infrastructure is both physical and logistical. For example, recognizing the increased cost in commuting, GST is implementing a 9/80 program. This means employees who are not customer-restrained can work 9 days instead of 10 to achieve their 80 hours for a pay period. GST also allows telecommuting when and where applicable. These are both excellent green programs that benefit the employee, corporation, and environment. To support this, GST is investing in the IT infrastructure to ensure its quality, efficiency, and flexibility.
GST recently signed a teaming agreement with Virtual Global, the developer of the Team leader virtual collaboration tool. We recognize that we are in a good position to provide products and services to customers who are investing in their own flexible work programs and need reliable infrastructure and tools. GST has always been a leader in its efforts to be a good corporate citizen. Reducing our carbon footprint, protecting the environment, and helping others move toward sustainability are the right things to do. GST core competencies of uniting science and technology uniquely positions our business to grow and prosper, while benefiting our employees, customers, communities, and environment.