As we celebrate Earth Week at our various Cook facilities, we would like to introduce you to Erin, our very first sustainability coordinator for Cook. See below to learn more about Erin and what she will be doing in her new role.
1. What is your professional background?
Between my studies in school and starting at Cook I’ve had the opportunity to learn how sustainability impacts the corporate world. My academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Geoscience & Ethics from DePauw University and a Master of Science in Sustainability Management from Columbia University. I have experience working with a charter school in Detroit, Michigan, to help them decide whether or not to commit to LEED standards in their school building, in addition to experience writing federal and state grant applications to help fund the school.
I also worked as an Environmental Educator at an environmental center in metro Atlanta, leading kids from ages 5-16 on hikes through a nature preserve and teaching them about sustainable living. Additionally, I worked with a nonprofit botanical garden developing their environmental education programming and learning about nonprofit management. Lastly, I worked at an organic skincare startup in New York City, helping them to consider the environmental impact of their sourcing, packaging, and production techniques and developing solutions to this impact.
Each of these experiences helped me to develop a greater understanding of the challenges that companies face in becoming more sustainable, as well as the many benefits and opportunities that exist for those who will commit to prioritizing the environment.
2. How long have you been with Cook?
I have worked at Cook since September of 2016.
3. What will you be doing in your new role?
This role is new to Cook and involves improved internal (employees) and external (customers and buying groups) communication regarding sustainability and environmental management efforts. These environmental management efforts include benchmarking our current impact (for example, energy consumption at our facilities, fuel consumption from transportation and delivery, and waste accrued along our supply chain) and then forming a cross-functional suite of programs and goals to help us improve our environmental performance.
So far, the position has also involved working with customers and buying groups who have developed programs that prioritize purchasing sustainable items over items that may have a detrimental environmental impact. As the market moves toward a demand for not only sustainable items but also a company culture that cares about positive environmental impact, we will continue to encounter more and more demands like these.
4. Who, internally and externally, will you be working with?
In this role, I interact a lot with facility managers at the different Cook facilities around the world. I have also had great discussions with individuals within Cook who are passionate about helping the planet and have ideas about how we could improve. There are many opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration with like-minded companies and organizations. We can learn from these and share our best practices.
5. Tell me a bit about yourself.
I love to be active—whether that’s hiking, biking, or playing soccer, I love to be outside and busy! After living in New York City for a year, it’s so great to be back in Indiana, where nature is so easy to access and enjoy. I learned to surf while I was studying geology in Hawaii and actually broke my nose the first time I caught a wave—it didn’t stop me from loving the sport, and I have a list of places that I would love to surf someday. Finally, I have a huge sweet tooth—donuts are a favorite, and the family whoopie pie recipe is one of my best-kept secrets.