At Clarke, environmental accountability is the rule—not the exception—in every aspect of our business. We began learning how to think this way back in 2008, and today, sustainability, innovation, and community are central to everything we do. The proof is in our annual sustainability report, which we have published for 7 straight years, reporting on our progress in several key goal areas. You can take a peek here at our most current report.
Our head of HR and Sustainable Development, Julie Reiter, recently had the opportunity to tell the story of Clarke’s employee-driven sustainability journey to a reporter with PCT Magazine, and it’s featured in the April 2018 issue of the magazine. Below is a short introductory excerpt, and you can read the whole story here if you’re interested in knowing what happens when a CEO puts his team in charge.
“It all started with an unhappy CEO.
Lyell Clarke III was “churning” in 2008; he knew that “something deep down in his gut wasn’t what it needed to be,” recalled Julie Reiter, who heads human resources at Clarke, a privately owned company providing global solutions for mosquito control and aquatic habitat management.
At an executive retreat Lyell shared his frustrations: The pace of change in the mosquito control industry was too slow; the industry’s reputation wasn’t great and people didn’t value what it did to protect public health. He felt a growing sense of responsibility as a maker of pesticides.
But instead of dealing with these issues privately, Clarke invited the entire company to join him in “this discovery of becoming a more sustainable, greener, responsible organization,” said Reiter. “It was Lyell’s mid-course correction,” where he admitted something was troubling him, where he wanted to figure it out and he wanted employees to help him do it, she recalled.
It was a radical move for a small, third-generation company where “people’s value was measured by whether they were at their desk” and nearly every decision had to be vetted by the company’s top executives, said Reiter.”