2021 at Verdis: Growth and Gratitude

After 22 months of remote and hybrid work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Verdis team gathered in Omaha in August for a mostly outdoor two-day retreat, where some of us met in person for the first time. We explored the firm’s history and future, learned about positive intelligence, shared delicious meals, and even cheered each other on through the TreeRush courses at Fontenelle Forest.

Our in-person retreat was one of many highlights in another challenging year navigating the pandemic. We have a lot to be grateful for and want to acknowledge the triumphs and connections we’ve celebrated throughout the year. 

First and foremost, we thank our clients, who have all put in the work to make thoughtful decisions and meaningful progress within their unique sustainability projects. Our mission is to co-create a thriving and resilient world, and your commitments to climate action are helping do just that. We look forward to the new and continued partnerships ahead. 

Here’s some of the exciting things we celebrated in 2021.

Our growing team:

  • Associate Olabimpe Airiohuodion and her husband Eddy welcomed their second daughter Zoe in April, making Isabelle a big sister!
  • Arnaud Manas joined Verdis in April as a Data Analyst and was promoted to Associate earlier this month. He has already utilized his data expertise and entrepreneurial background to lead the creation and launch of our newest service, the Net Zero Pathway. He lives with his wife Samantha in Omaha. 
  • Shelby Fleig joined us in June as our first Communications Coordinator. Based in Omaha, she coordinates proposal development, creates reports and other deliverables, and manages our website content and other marketing.
  • Desmond Evans also joined the team in June as a Data Analyst Intern. A Colorado State University graduate, he supports a wide range of data analysis needs including waste diversion projects and greenhouse gas inventories and lives in Omaha.
  • Jess Wagner joined us in November as an Administrative Intern. In addition to keeping our internal processes and projects on track, she studies public policy at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She lives in Omaha with her husband John and their two kids. 
  • Wayne Warrington joined Verdis in November as a Senior Associate. Wayne is a former wildlife biologist with extensive expertise in sustainability at zoos and aquariums. He lives in Phoenix with his wife Kacie and their three kids…and a dog, a rabbit, a leopard gecko, and six neon blue shrimp!

Our expanding national projects:

  • In November, the City of Salem, Oregon, released the final draft of its Climate Action Plan, which charts a course of action toward the City’s goals to reduce emissions by 50% by 2035 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. 
  • We formed a partnership with the Aquarium Conservation Partnership to provide sustainability services including executive outreach, greenhouse gas inventory baselining & benchmarking, and Net Zero Pathway planning to its 25 member aquariums across the country.
  • The Seattle Aquarium is striving to go beyond sustainability to have a regenerative impact, an exciting goal that’s reflected in its Sustainability Master Plan finalized late this year and set to be made public in 2022.
  • First National Bank of Omaha, which has branches in seven states, set ambitious goals to reduce emissions, water use, and improve their diversion rate.
  • We’re helping the Dallas Zoo organize its sustainability governance structure and accelerate action by implementing strategies in the Sustainability Master Plan that we co-created in 2020.
  • We’re supporting the Houston Zoo’s climate action with resource management support and integration of sustainability into their strategic planning process.
  • Our work this year with the Metropolitan Airports Commission in the Twin Cities included establishing their Executive Sustainability Committee, creating roadmaps for emissions, water, and waste goals, and integrating sustainability throughout their organization using a living systems framework. 
  • Our data analytics team is conducting greenhouse gas inventories and validations for clients including Dundee Bank, PURE Insurance, National Aquarium, and more!

Our work close to home:

  • The City of Lincoln officially adopted its Climate Action Plan in March, and the city and its residents quickly went to work implementing the strategies we recommended. Read more about all the exciting progress in Lincoln since the Climate Action Plan was adopted! 
  • The ConnectGo Getting To Work Report, the result of a partnership between ConnectGo, MAPA, and Verdis Group, was released in July. We surveyed over 4,000 employees representing a population of nearly 16,000 of their colleagues on their current and preferred commute methods, then identified and shared supportive programming ideas that each employer can use to meet their employees’ needs. 
  • After the IPCC released a dire report in August, we hosted a climate impacts webinar with Nebraska Climatologist Martha Shulski in October so that our local clients understood the most up-to-date climate science and how it applies to them. 
  • We launched a new service called the Net Zero Pathway, a three-step process that enables organizations to set and achieve realistic and actionable decarbonization targets.
  • Through our charitable program #LOVErdis, our team collectively gave more than $3,500 to 22 nonprofits on Giving Tuesday; we helped move furniture back into the KANEKO-UNO Library after damaging flash floods in early August; and we’re donating a Net Zero Pathway to the nonprofit Jewish Federation of Omaha to help them achieve their emissions reduction goals. 
  • We continued to implement sustainable strategies with longtime local partners including Nebraska Methodist Health System, Omaha Public Schools, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine.

Thanks again to everyone who worked with us in 2021 to co-create a thriving and resilient world. We wish you and your loved ones a fulfilling holiday season and a healthy and happy new year.

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