National Geographic Society
At a Glance
Engagement and Behavior Change, Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy
Kate Drummond worked on organization-wide sustainability planning and tracking.
Kate Drummond was brought on as an EDF Climate Corps fellow by the National Geographic Society (NGS) to determine how to design and implement an integrated tracking system to evaluate its commitment to triple bottom line (TBL) accountability.
After interviewing over 30 internal and external stakeholders to better understand the organization’s practices and policies, Drummond recommended organizing NGS’s many sustainability and employee engagement activities under four, easy-to-remember, society-wide goals. They are: achieving carbon neutrality in all operations, sending zero waste to landfill from headquarters, fostering healthy and engaged employees and being the best possible stewards of natural resources. These four goals were accepted by the Executive Management Committee (EMC) and became the basis for NGS’s TBL tracking and reporting. Drummond developed a proprietary tracking system, located data from disparate units within the organization, created a process by which the data can be reported monthly and conducted an initial analysis to show the benefits of tracking and compiling the data in a central system.
While NGS has had the benefit of a committed Chief Sustainability Officer and an extremely dedicated group of volunteers, Drummond’s recommendations highlighted the need to institutionalize responsibility for sustainability goals by incorporating them into the job descriptions and performance evaluations of one staff member per business unit. Additionally, Drummond investigated options for offsetting the carbon emissions from business travel, helped develop an infographic to explain TBL to employees, engaged the development office in promoting NGS sustainability and launched two cross-departmental sustainability task forces.