How “going green” improved the Atlanta office’s bottom line

What we did: streamlining recycling
On Earth Day, 22 April 2011, the Atlanta office of Ernst & Young LLP launched Sustainable Success, our single stream recycling program. More than 1,000 black recycling cans were removed from workspaces, conference rooms and common spaces in the Atlanta office. The cans were donated to the Atlanta Public School System and KIPP Charter Schools. In their place, the office provided strategically positioned, uniformly labeled Landfill and Recycle bins. During the rollout, EcoCare, Ernst & Young LLP’s grassroots volunteer network, coordinated and provided assistance for the Atlanta office,
drawing on the experiences of other successful recycling initiatives both in the US and overseas.

The bottom line and beyond
The Sustainable Success program met the cost-saving objectives that prompted its creation, but the program accomplished more than simply bettering the bottom line:
•• Avoided potential penalties and fines
•• Improved recycling rates from 50% to more than 80% in just two months
•• Created a sustainability relationship with the Atlanta Mayor’s Office and provided a foundation for ongoing collaboration with local businesses and other entities
•• Earned us recognition in local media and various business publications
•• Improved employee engagement by creating a common goal of creating a greener Atlanta, firm, organization and office
•• Provided a forum to discuss best practices — from conception to integration — among Ernst & Young’s EcoCare teams at the local, regional, national and Americas levels
•• Evoked interest from current and prospective clients, prompting requests to visit the Atlanta office and learn about our best-inclass recycling program — this provided a relationship-building opportunity for account teams and Climate Change and Sustainability Services professionals
•• Helped shape the design of future waste stations in member firms across the Americas

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