Going green isn’t something that happens overnight – but Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler says it doesn’t take much longer than a night to see the changes adding up. “At the end of a few days, at the end of a week, you really start to see how much you’re saving,” Stippler said.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is one of the organizations that has committed to IndyBar’s Green Legal Initiative this year. As a government agency, the OUCC has more regulations than the average law firm, but that hasn’t stopped them from making environmentally friendly changes. Stippler said there are a few keys to effectively becoming a greener organization.
“It has to start at the top,” Stippler said. He said that having leadership that sets the tone and drives home awareness of green efforts is an important first step. He also noted that, “It’s important to lead by example.”
At the OUCC, the changes have been incremental but have added up. They have a water cooler with washable cups for employees and also installed a dishwasher so employees could reuse utensils. There are numerous recycling receptacles in the office that employees are strongly encouraged to use, and they have also transitioned to virtual filing for cases, which has saved them “millions of pages.” Double-sided printing has also helped to cut down on paper waste.
“Take simple steps that become big strides as you move along,” Stippler said. “If everybody does their share, those steps add up.”
While leading by example from the top is important, Stippler has found that office challenges help engage employees. At the OUCC, they challenged staff to reduce color printing and presented a bar graph each month showing the progress. Stippler found that it helped motivate others to see tangible results from their efforts. He also said that recognizing employees for helping to make a difference created a positive office environment.
Stippler said he hopes employees take the green strategies home and that the benefits will extend into the community. He notes that the practices not only help the environment but are also a way to reduce costs, and ultimately those savings come back to the employees.
“We walk the talk and we do that every day,” Stippler said. “We are committed to living by those principles.”
To get your firm or business Green Legal Certified and join the OUCC’s efforts, visit indybar.org/gogreen to access information about the program and applications. Applications are due Sept. 13. Participating firms will be recognized at the bar’s Recognition Luncheon Nov. 13.•