The overarching message for our sustainability program is simple and intuitive – that we need to think about the impact of our decisions and behaviors so that we not only have a healthy, vibrant and safe community today but also so that we can preserve the viability of future generations. Sustainability is a process of continual improvement, and
The Washington County Board of
The Sustainability Program has developed an expanded definition of internal sustainability that encompasses the triple bottom line. This three-part approach ensures that all aspects of sustainability – environment, economy, and equity – are included in the County's business operations. Washington County strives to improve the triple bottom line through policies and programs that:
- Foster workplace excellence by empowering and engaging employees.
- Connect a healthy environment with wellness and better quality of life.
- Recognize and celebrate cultural differences while creating a collaborative work environment.
- Promote responsible stewardship of County resources.
- Future Generations – consider the needs, health and opportunity of future residents and employees, while meeting current needs.
- Stewardship – commit to the efficient and effective use of limited resources and serve as an example towards others.
- Accountability – ensure public funds provide priority infrastructure and services. Strive to get the most benefit from available resources through sound sustainability practices.
- Innovation – commit to best practices, continuous improvement and creativity.
- Prevention – promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles and choices to prevent larger problems.
- Education – engage employees, public and policy makers in the goals, best practices, programs, roles and behaviors that optimize sustainable practices.
- Shared Responsibility – encourage employees, residents, businesses and other community stakeholders to do their part.
- Collaboration – pursue partnerships and collaborative working relationships with public and private partners.
- Realize economic and resource savings through the construction, operation and maintenance of high performance buildings and landscapes;
- Enhance the fuel efficiency of County fleet vehicles and use of alternate fuels;
- Enhance recycling rates in County operations and promote waste reduction at the source;
- Develop sustainable procurement strategies for all operations where practicable;
- Emphasize land use planning, development, and building policies and practices that promote sustainable communities;
- Protect and foster productive and healthy agriculture, greenspaces and natural resource lands;
- Prioritize energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy;
- Support transportation programs and infrastructure that address capacity, multimodal options, trip reduction and the use of public transportation and car pooling;
- Invest in facilities, equipment, and durable goods that reflect the highest feasible efficiency and lowest life cycle costs;
- Develop and implement communication and education plans to promote and report on the County's sustainability activities and "best practices;"
- Support legislative and economic development initiatives consistent with the County's interests;
- Participate with the Partners for a Sustainable Washington County Community and other collaborations to document "best practices", share information and develop collaborative programs and efforts;
- Monitor and measure progress and report annually to the Board of County Commissioners.