What does it mean to really be green – to make serious changes that may not be easy but are better for the ecosystem we call Mother Earth? Many Denver businesses are finding out as part of the Denver Pollution Prevention Partners program, also know as Denver P2 Partners.
Serendipity was already doing the fundamentals of environmentally smart business practices when Laura Zaspel, co-owner and Green Event Specialist, learned about the Denver Pollution Prevention Partners program.
“They were impressed by what we were already doing,” Laura said. She said earning the certification was simply the next step on Serendipity’s journey as the leader in green catering.
Serendipity is the first catering company in Denver to become certified under the program. Evan Dreyer, deputy chief of staff for the Denver mayor’s office, presented the certificate of recognition to Laura at a recent lunch hosted at Serendipity.
Here is a partial list of changes Serendipity put into place, to enhance what was already being done, to earn the certification:
- Establish and implement a written operations and maintenance plan for refrigeration equipment including regular coil and gasket cleaning and replacement
- Implement a composting program
- Purchase 10 percent of food from locally grown/produced sources
- Set-up staff carpooling to events
These are only a
few of the business practices, but it gives you an idea of the commitment made by Serendipity and other Denver businesses to be green.
Having a master’s degree in environmental management, Laura began her professional life working for the U.S. Department of Energy (Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technology). It was in graduate school where she realized the country needed to make enormous changes and quickly. She hoped to help formulate those changes working for the federal government.
“It really was an open your eyes and look at the world moment,” Laura said. However after several years on the government job, Laura began to realize she could have bigger impact on the local level.
“Change comes from grassroots,” Laura said. She said her role as a green catering leader has allowed her to help other businesses enhance their green practices.
About P2 Partners
Denver P2Partners was started in 2009 to help improve environmental performance at businesses throughout the city. The program is voluntary, non-regulatory and confidential.
Businesses must meet specific standards in five major areas: business management, energy efficiency and conservation, water conservation and quality, resource management, and transportation.
Different industries have different standards to meet. Serendipity qualified under the restaurant category. The goal of the program is to partner with businesses to create more sustainable practices. The program can be customized to meet the needs of any business, and all participants receive recognition from the city.
While some of the programs do cost money to implement, Laura said the City of Denver has many excellent resources available to help.
As for Serendipity, the next step on the green road will be fostering more relationships with local farmers and therefore increasing the percentage of food locally sourced; and to increase the education of staff and clients so from the start of planning an event, sustainable choices are made along the way, whether it is a wedding, birthday party or corporate event.