*Originally Published on April 22, 2020 on LinkedIn*
Today, we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.
The movement began April 22, 1970 with 20 million Americans demonstrating support for a healthy, sustainable environment. Now the movement has grown with the conservation movement to an international day of action with hundreds of millions of participants worldwide.
It’s incredible to see how a simple day can grow into a movement of millions dedicated towards building and maintaining a sustainable future.
Meow Wolf is proud to be part of this movement as a Certified B Corp. We are part of the growing group of businesses doing “business for good,” with a triple bottom line of supporting people, planet, and profit through our business model.
One of the largest things we do for the environment is collaborate with our B Corp community as a member of the B Corp Climate Collective. Together we share best practices, advocate for policy reform, engage our employees and develop a message for the business case for conservation.
As a growing startup, we face many challenges making our business sustainable. We face these challenges head on and strive to implement creative solutions to make our business more green. Here are a few things we’ve been working on:
We’re lucky to be headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico with over 315 days of sunshine per year. In 2017, we partnered with Positive Energy Solar to install solar panels at Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return. Since installation we generate 40% of our overall energy usage through solar!
We also have implemented several energy saving measures at all of our facilities.
We purchase energy star rated, and energy saving appliances.
Upgrade to energy efficient lighting, including fiber and LED, when possible.
Turning the “show” off whenever we are closed to save energy.
Motion detectors at our facilities so lights turn off.
Though we have seen over one million visitors pass through our doors, we have been able to decrease our water usage through a series of of targeted measures at the House of Eternal Return, including:
Low-flow faucets and toilets.
Waterless urinals to decrease water usage.
Artificial turf where possible on the exterior of our facility.
Water continuous landscaping through native and drought tolerant plants.
In total, we have reduced our water use by 20% over traditional methods since implementing these changes.
Merchandise and Packaging
While we primarily sell experiences, we also have a robust line of merchandise available for purchase through our gift store and online. Our team has focused on improving the sustainability of our store through the following measures.
Purchased 50% of merchandise in 2019 from local suppliers and artists to decrease energy used during transportation.
Eliminated the use of single polybags for 90%+ of product shipments.
Shifted ecom mailers to 100% post consumer recycled envelope materials.
Replaced use of bubble wrap and foam peanuts packing materials with leftover newspaper grade packing paper supplied by the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Converting vinyl sticker hang-tags to FSC certified recycled paper with soy inks.
Health and Safety
Being a responsible employer means providing a safe work environment for employees, and reducing our impact on the surrounding environment. We have implemented the following measures to provide a safe and clean workplace.
Purchased reusable particulate respirators, significantly reducing the number of disposable masks in the garbage.
Our art team doesn't rinse paint brushes in the sink, instead they collect the rinse water, then add a flocculant to settle out the solids. The remaining liquid is evaporated, so no paint goes down the drain. This process reduces our paint waste volume by 90%.
We recycle our steel scraps, acrylic plastic scraps, and other material offcuts are made available for reuse by staff, or through recycled art making in the Learning Center.
While we have made some strides, we know there is always more work to be done to support a more sustainable world. Meow Wolf will take all of these environmental efforts to our new locations in Las Vegas and Denver, as well. We know just how easy it is to maintain the status quo, but Meow Wolf strives to use our B-Corp resources to change the status quo. We only have one Earth. We’re dedicated to protecting her.