Any independent evaluator can have an environment impact by Lisa Kaczmarczyk

Lisa Kaczmarczyk

Hi, my name is Lisa Kaczmarczyk, owner of an evaluation consultancy that focuses on Computer Science and Engineering Education, and an Adjunct Faculty in the Computer Science department at Harvey Mudd College. For years I wondered how I could do something professionally to address our growing environmental problems.

Not long ago I realized that as independent evaluators we are uniquely positioned to leverage our role to transform the environmental impact of our businesses and our clients’ projects.

Hot Tip: Start with supplies, large and small. Nearly every evaluation requires spending money on “stuff.” You either purchase it yourself or can influence the decision makers. Stuff matters.

Rad Resources: For Inspiration

  • Cradle to Cradle (McDonough & Braungart, 2002) – I found this classic book very readable, more relevant today than ever. It was one of the first works to make the provocative (and well supported) claim that our industrial model of manufacture and disposal needs to be, and can be, redesigned from the ground up.
  • The Story of Plastic (2020) – This fascinating documentary obliterates once and for all the notion that we can recycle our way out of our plastic problem. I take this movie’s lessons to heart every time I head for the office cabinet or supply store.

Rad Resources: For Operationalizing Inspiration

The B Corp Handbook: How You Can Use Business as a Force for Good (Honeyman & Jana, Second Edition 2019) – Chapter 3 Section on “The Environment”. Intended as an itemized guide for organizations that want to become certified as a B Corporation (see below), I discovered that this succinct book can also be used to make changes to an evaluation business or client project.

Hot Tip: Other chapter sections of Honeyman’s book focus on workers, community, governance and customers. The 2nd edition has an added focus on diversity and inclusion.

Lesson Learned: Evaluators are not traveling very much right now, which is very good for the planet, but at some point travel will start up again. As a result of pandemic enforced lockdown I’m realizing that when that time comes perhaps I can travel less – or at least travel differently.

Rad Resource:The traveller’s guide to carbon offsetting your flights” This blog provides an overview of the controversy surrounding carbon offsets and how to purchase them if you want to.  

Rad Resources: On Certification

I found many resources for a business that wants to invest in becoming certified as an environmentally sustainable organization. Here are just a few:

  •  The ISEAL Alliance –  global membership organization that focuses on effectiveness, efficiency and innovation of sustainability standards.
  • B Corporations are for profit businesses that are legally bound to consider the impact of their decisions on workers, customers, suppliers and the environment.

I’m out of space! I hope these resources will inspire you to take action: there is a role for any independent evaluator to play in positively transforming the environment.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

2 thoughts on “Any independent evaluator can have an environment impact by Lisa Kaczmarczyk”

  1. Just catching this post now, Lisa, and I wanted to say it is much appreciated on many levels. In addition to all the good points you raise, taking awareness raising action in our communities of practice and professional associations is another important way that evaluators can have environmental impact…which I feel your post models. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for this Lisa, I really appreciate it. Several years ago I decided to cut down my travel drastically and while I definitely lost some contracts and presentation opportunities, my world didn’t end. It was hard at first to say “no” but got easier as time went on. One of the silver linings from COVID is that my clients are now much more willing to entertain the idea of a webinar vs. an in-person presentation. It’s a small action, but helps me sleep better at night.

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