This article was originally published by the City of Petaluma in their Fall 2015 newsletter.

Thanks to their participation in a unique peer-learning model, seven Petaluma organizations are charting a clear path to sustainability, with action plans to change their processes and supply chains.

Petaluma Circle Participants

The organizations — representing business, government, education and healthcare — formed a “Sustainability Circle” that was facilitated by REV, a social venture company that helps clients get measurable results from sustainability initiatives.

What drove these organizations to come together in a REV Sustainability Circle?

All were eager to collaborate with peers and discover ways to create a stronger organization, a stronger community, and a healthier planet through sustainability measures. The group was brought together by the City of Petaluma and the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce as a way to build important relationships among our largest employers and to support sustainability throughout the community.

Participants were Lagunitas Brewing, Traditional Medicinals, Straus Creamery, Amy’s Kitchen, the City of Petaluma, Petaluma Valley Hospital, Petaluma City Schools, and Santa Rosa Junior College.

For six months, participants met monthly as a group to learn from experts (and each other) about topics such as the business case for and value of sustainability; responsible practices in transportation, travel, and procurement; marketing and communications around sustainable; and metrics/reporting of sustainable practices.

Each organization developed a Sustainability Action Plan that included initiatives to reduce energy use, water use, and waste to increase employee engagement and deliver cost savings through smarter use of resources. The plans were presented by participants at the final meeting.

Petaluma is known as a hub for sustainable thinking; in fact, many of this Sustainability Circle’s participants have already established themselves as sustainability advocates in their industries. For example, Petaluma City Schools is the most energy efficient in Sonoma County; Traditional Medicinals has sustainability embedded in its mission; and the City of Petaluma has made a name for itself through progressive growth management policies and eco-friendly buildings such as its new water treatment plant.