October 6, 2022

written by
Barbara O Stephenson

As a 3FO core value, being people-centric doesn’t automatically bring climate change to mind. Caring about our team, their families, our partners and clients, all easily fit. But climate change and being green certified? How does that fit and why was it important to us to get a green certification? How is that not just ‘greenwashing’ to join the bandwagon of marketing jargon and government compliance?

Here In our California headquarters, drought and wildfires are on the increase. Everyone knows that, it’s in the news. It’s too hot in Phoenix, Colorado has wildfires, the east coast is flooding, etc. But it’s more than just ’news’ because there are real-life daily effects that people tend to overlook.

There has also been an increase in spare-the-air days where we are supposed to take mass transit or work from home. That’s all good for those of us who live with a good public transportation system or can avoid going into the office. But for people who have to go to work outside of the home? That’s exposure to toxins in the air they can’t avoid. Medical bills dealing with asthma or lung issues they may not be able to afford in a country with poor medical care. How about people who live in areas without or with poorly managed mass transit outside the city? That could be hours added to their day to ride the bus, take a train, or make connections.

I value the richness of my relationships and of time and having a job that allows me to take meetings on the phone and handle emails on the train. And many of the people I work with feel the same way- we take the bus, work from home, have fuel-efficient vehicles, or walk to work when we do need to go. We can move when the weather gets cruddy, we can get AC installed, we can purchase generators when the power grid goes down. We know how lucky we are to be able to do so. But not everyone can afford those things and that’s where climate change becomes a socio-economic issue, a people-centric issue.

It’s easy to say that getting a green certification doesn’t matter. That a paper straw or one less plastic bag isn’t going to fix things. And yes, that’s true at some level. But I also like to have agency over my life and one way I do that is to take really big problems and bring them to my level. Doing something makes me feel good. And yes, every little bit we can do now may not be as impactful as a large corporation. But like we know that voting in small local elections eventually makes a difference as to who gets into the White House, I want to believe that if we all as good corporate citizens do our part, we may be able to influence the outcome when it comes to larger stakes. Because at its base value, caring about the environment is caring about people.