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Understanding Three Sustainability Principles in Grounds Management
Green Guidance: Three Principles
As the number of stakeholders involved in landscape decisions at institutional and commercial facilities grows, the definitions of sustainability in grounds management can vary greatly. Sustainability in grounds management is based on the key principles and subsequent best practices that guide three interrelated categories:
Environmental stewardship. Manage resources within natural limitations. Value ecosystem services. Implement environmentally sustainable initiatives. Establish environmental policies and evaluation processes. Evaluate existing natural resources to preserve and conserve.
Economic performance. Use renewable and sustainable resources. Eliminate or reduce the use of resources that are difficult or impossible to renew. Improve grounds management performance through policies and procedures. Investigate the use of advanced and emerging technologies. Conduct life-cycle-cost assessments. Produce contingency plans that reflect budget reductions.
Social responsibility. Create ecosystems that are safe, healthy and productive. Ensure natural processes and human activities coexist. Involve stakeholders to define and link long-term maintenance strategies. Find new resources and technologies that enhance the user’s quality of life and the environment. Perform routine assessment of training and development needs. Ensure the workplace environment is responsive to an employee’s health, safety and welfare needs.
These three principles also guide the Professional Grounds Management Society’s Landscape Management and Operations accreditation program, which helps grounds organizations make management decisions in a structured way related to:
• maintaining and improving regulatory compliance
• increasing efficiency in nonregulated environmental performance outcomes, such as the use of energy, water and materials
• promoting sustainable practices
• increasing employees’ environmental awareness and morale
• standardizing and integrating management procedures
• projecting and promoting a positive image to business customers, stakeholders and the public.
— Stephanie Bruno