Raleigh, N.C-based Hughes Pittman & Gupton has earned the Green Plus certification from the Institute for Sustainable Development for their sustainability practices. HPG is the first accounting firm to receive this recognition.

The Green Plus program encourages businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout the country to learn best practices in the areas of “triple bottom line sustainability” – people, planet and performance.

To earn the certification is not easy. HPG underwent an extensive review of its organizational policies and procedures. First the firm completed an 86-question diagnostic survey. Second, the firm received a diagnostic report on its sustainability performance, strengths, weaknesses and areas of opportunity for improvement. HPG then had to develop an action plan to implement new practices. The process took more than eight months and the firm was subjected to random site visits by the Institute.

As a result HPG launched multiple initiatives to integrate sustainability into its culture, including:
•    A staff-led recycling program
•    Sustainability topic lunch and learns
•    An Earth Day awareness event
•    Green initiative boards
•    Monthly green e-mails
•    Green Monster awards for staff

But the firm didn’t stop there.

They also assessed their resource use – including energy and water. They added energy efficient appliances, switched to reusable kitchenware and eliminated unnecessary lighting.
As part of the program, HPG have come up with goals for further reductions and are subject to post-certification random site visits by the Institute to audit the firm’s ongoing performances.

The initiatives add to practices that were already in place – a paperless office environment and software that allows employees flexible scheduling and the ability to work from home or other remote locations.

“Earning this elite certification is a tremendous honor and a testament to the efforts of the entire HPG team,” said Tim Naylor, HPG partner. “We are especially thankful to Lauren Joyce, who has been instrumental in leading our initiatives and our Clean-Tech Client Team. Without her efforts, this certification would not be possible.”