Reducing Environmental Impact
Reducing Environmental Impact
T. Rowe Price’s 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report describes the firm’s progress on its commitment to reduce environmental impact. Between 2010 and 2014, the firm cut landfill waste by 49%, expanded recycling by 79%, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 3%, all while the associate population grew 30%.
Nearly a third of the firm’s real estate is now sustainably certified
The goal with all new construction and major renovation projects is to obtain sustainable certifications, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or the U.K.’s Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) now used throughout Europe. These building rating systems are designed to promote construction and renovation practices that reduce environmental impact while creating a pleasant workspace, and are important measures of the sustainability levels of our buildings.
The firm’s two newest buildings in Maryland—with over 400,000 square feet of office space—received LEED Gold certifications in 2014, bringing to 32% (or more than 630,000 square feet) the amount of the firm’s real estate portfolio that has achieved sustainable certification. The London office was awarded the BREEAM Good environmental certification in 2014 and received a Clean City Award from the City of London for exceptional waste management and sustainability practices.
Reducing Waste to Landfills
The firm is also making strides in reducing waste that goes to landfills. Programs that helped the firm reduce its landfill waste by 49% and increase recycling by 79% between 2010 and 2014 included:
- Single-stream recycling programs in 98% of office space, including personal waste and recycling receptacles in all owned U.S. offices.
- Composting in cafeteria operations in all owned U.S. facilities.
- Expansion of an energy-from-waste program that began in the London office to include our headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland and most recently the Owings Mills, Maryland campus. Twenty-seven percent of associates now work in office locations that participate in this waste disposal program, which diverts waste from landfills to generate energy.
“We have been composting behind the scenes for the past year in our kitchen areas,” says Brian Dean of Facilities Management, “trying it there first, establishing vendor relationships and learning how and what we could compost. In the next year, we’ll begin rolling it out to be more associate-based, with composting in our pantries and dining areas where we have on-site cafeterias.”
Two corporate gardens have been planted at firm locations. The first broke ground in the spring of 2013 at the Owings Mills campus in Maryland. In 2014, the Colorado office followed suit with a garden of its own. Associate volunteers plant, water, weed, and harvest produce throughout the growing season. Garden-fresh produce is donated to local organizations that distribute it to people in need. In 2014, the two gardens produced more than 250 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables for donation.
Energy consumption—specifically electricity—makes up 84% of the firm’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the firm is implementing opportunities to reduce our electricity demand through strategies such as the adoption of renewable energy sources. Total GHG emissions decreased 3% between 2010 and 2014. The firm has participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) since 2005 and has been a CDP Signatory since 2011.
“A big focus in 2015 is the installation of solar panels on the garage roofs at our Owings Mills, Maryland campus,” says Brian. “They’re going to reduce the firm’s carbon footprint by 4%. Also, by diversifying the firm’s energy supply with renewable sources we will reduce our ongoing operating expenses, and we expect to recoup the initial capital expenditure in five to eight years.”
These and other efforts will continue in 2016 as the firm continues to look for opportunities to be good stewards of the earth’s resources—ranging from additional generation of renewable energy and installation of more efficient equipment, to improved automation of systems and initiatives aimed at engaging associates to consume less energy.