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Sustainability Spotlight May 2013
A trained environmental scientist who has been involved at both the city and federal levels (including a stint as docent at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, focusing on wildlife and conservation), Jenine Tankoos was serving as Chair of the Manalapan Environmental Commission when she met fellow commission member Viridian Director Sue Schoenfeld. The two clicked, and when Sue had an STP with Jenine, she signed up with Viridian on the spot.

“I’d already committed my life to educating people about helping the environment,” said Jenine. “Viridian was a natural extension of that. But what really moved me is that Viridian offers the opportunity for people to have a measurable impact.

“Because no matter how much people may profess agreement with environmental goals, you don’t really know what they’re doing when they go home. Are they really carrying those reusable grocery bags you gave them? Are they really recycling their bottles and cans?”

“But with Viridian, all a customer has to do to have a measurable, positive impact on the environment is use electricity. The only ‘behavior change’ we ask of them is a simple, one­time choice of energy suppliers. I love the simplicity—and effectiveness—of that.”

Since joining Viridian last May, Jenine has advanced to the rank of Director, become a member of the Sustainability Task Force and found a community of like­minded souls. The fellowship is a welcome side benefit to being affiliated with a company that supports her firmly held belief in sustainability as an everyday practice.

“We are all making choices all day, every day,” she explained. “Sustainability is about factoring your impact on the environment into every one of those decisions. For instance, when you go grocery shopping, are you going to buy loose tomatoes or tomatoes packaged in plastic and Styrofoam? ‘Small’ decisions really add up! That’s why I feel so passionate about the Viridian mission of collective impact. By continuing with this company and helping my team members achieve their goals, I will do far more for the environment than I ever would have been able to do on my own.”

Jenine had the opportunity to experience the power of the Viridian community at an Earth Month event she hosted at the Forest Resource Education Center in Jackson, New Jersey. More than 70 volunteers turned out to repair trails for hikers, and to modify one trail to be accessible for wheelchair users. “Another benefit of being with Viridian,” she said with a laugh, “is knowing that when I coordinate an event, people will actually show up to support it.”