Sustainability Week Overview
Miller Milling held its first ever company-wide Sustainability Week following Earth Day. The week’s intention was to dedicate time for education, to raise awareness, and to promote action around sustainability. The initiatives were meant to spark curiosity in people across all areas of the business, to share the company’s sustainability strategies, and to participate in activities important to valuing the planet and people.
The week began with a company-wide kick-off meeting in which Miller Milling’s Sustainability Week was introduced in line with the company’s Sustainability Strategies of carbon reduction, regenerative practices, and supporting people. The activities of the week included a Carbon Footprint Challenge, Volunteer Projects, a Lunch-and-Learn, a food drive, and the launch of a new sustainability suggestion process for employees.
The Carbon Footprint Challenge
The Carbon Footprint Challenge is a way to gauge personal environmental impact and consumption by calculating the total amount of greenhouse gases being produced as a result of daily lifestyle choices. Each employee was encouraged to do the challenge and was asked to reflect on their results. The entire company from corporate teams to each mill site team was invited to participate by completing an online survey of their personal tendencies around energy use, travel, food, and other topics. The average footprint of the 113 participants was 56 tons of CO2 annually. According to the Nature Conservancy, the US average footprint is 16 tons, which is one of the highest averages in the world. Globally the average is 4 tons. All who completed the survey were eligible for a site-wide raffle where an RTIC cooler was given away. In addition, the company raffled off one Aventon Pace 500 e-Bike to a participant. Many of the reflection responses made clear that this activity prompted new thinking around how to live more sustainably.
The Volunteer Projects were intended to support local organizations and communities where Miller Milling operates. The projects differed at each site as Corporate volunteered at Feed My Starving Children, LA will be participating in a Beach Clean-up, Oakland will be volunteering at Alameda Co. Community Food Bank, Fresno volunteered at Central California Food Bank and Blood Drive, Saginaw volunteered at Community Link Food Bank, and Winchester will be volunteering at the local Apple Blossom Festival as well as Clean-Up activities at Winchester Rescue Mission. Each event allowed employees to better their community in some way by donating their time.
The Lunch-and-Learn was an initiative to educate employees about a sustainability topic. This week, the topic of composting at home was explored because of its importance in reducing landfill waste and greenhouse gas emissions from food waste. Each mill location and corporate sessions were led by one person who was passionate about the topic. Those who participated in this event were given the opportunity to be entered into a raffle to win an at home rotating compost bin. This event helped engage and educate employees on practices they can implement in their own lives to support sustainability.
Additionally, each site participated in a food drive from which items will be donated to local organizations in need of supplies. Each location recorded the number of items received and the weight of the items in pounds. Combined, the company collected over 1200 pounds of food. Miller Milling strives to support local communities where operations are, and the food drive was a huge success in doing so.
All in all, Miller Milling’s first Sustainability Week was a success in engaging the company in different ways through personal reflection, team collaboration, and community efforts. Though Sustainability Week is complete, Miller Milling hopes to continue the conversation and engagement around this topic.