Case Study: Project Clean Stream
Perdue has long supported the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay though corporate sponsorship and board involvement. Perdue pursued the partnership with the organization due to the Alliance’s experience in bringing together broad spectrums of stakeholders into collaborative efforts. In 2008, Perdue provided financial support for the Alliance’s Project Clean Stream, through a grant from the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, and put out a call for associate volunteers on Delmarva (the Delmarva peninsula encompasses portions of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia).
The partnership’s first event was modest: 30 volunteers at a single site not far from Perdue’s corporate office in Salisbury, Maryland. The volunteers included the company’s Chairman and other senior leaders, who waded into the mucky shoreline of two local waterways collecting everything from cans and bottles to rusted bicycles and used car tires. Organizers shared photos of the event through company-wide communication channels.
Following the inaugural event, an effort led by associates expanded the program across Perdue facilities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. When associates saw the opportunity to do something in their own communities, and of their own choosing, interest spread.
Project Clean Stream is now a company-wide event. Environmental managers at each location work with their local management teams to recruit volunteers. The Corporate Communication department identifies an individual on each team to report on the local results and provide photographs of the team. The communications team publishes the information on the company Intranet and Facebook page. As a result, there is now a friendly rivalry between locations to outdo each other and the volume and pounds of trash and debris collected from their local waterways continues to increase.
In 2014, more than 890 Perdue associates and family members harvested more than 74,000 pounds of trash and debris from 52 sites across nine states. Since 2008, more than 4,100 Perdue employees have collected more than a quarter million pounds of trash.
[This case study was featured in the GEMI Quick Guide for Engaging Employees in Sustainability.]