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New initiative: COSC Evergreen

Program aims to help businesses better measure sustainability efforts


Want to be a green company? Start with green employees.

It might sound simple, but two local organizations are teaming up to try to revolutionize the way that businesses can measure just how environmentally conscious their employees are.

Meidh Technologies Inc., a technology company housed at StartupCity Des Moines, and the Center on Sustainable Communities (COSC) have launched COSC Evergreen, a sustainability certification program that asks employees specific survey questions about their everyday habits that affect the environment, such as “Are the lights in your workspace high efficiency?”

Employees who sign up are emailed a random question every five to nine days, with the goal to get people to answer 50 questions a year.

The data gathered from those answers can be organized to show how businesses stack up and what they can do better, as well as compare results between businesses, cities and individuals.

“The data that we gather can be used to target good programs and ones that don’t work,” said Chris Draper, CEO of Meidh. “At the end of the day, it’s always going to be the people’s scores that matter, but it’s going to be the company that facilitates the environment for their employees’ success.”

By measuring companies based on employee responses, Draper hopes that businesses can get a more accurate representation of what works and doesn’t work in their sustainability practices. He also hopes that Evergreen can provide an accurate assessment of green standards to complement – or even become a part of – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or Energy Star certification.

Draper also foresees real estate and property management companies using the survey results to measure tenant comfort.

Anybody can sign up for an Evergreen account, and the results would represent their business with or without the company’s knowledge. Meidh and COSC are pushing to get businesses officially involved to encourage all their employees to participate.

One Greater Des Moines company, Meredith Corp., is in the process of adopting the program and encouraging employees to use it.

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