While our focus at LNWM is to get the best possible results for our clients, we also have a broader view of our responsibility as a company, which includes doing what is best for our employees, our community and the environment. In fact, one of LNWM’s core tenets is “building community and activating our collective resources” (see LNWM’s Corporate Responsibility page).
What this means is that we strive to apply both our financial capital and human capital (skills, know-how, social connections) to improve social and environmental well-being, especially in our local communities. We have put this into action in many ways over the decades, as part of a family enterprise that has deep roots in the Puget Sound. One recent example: employees (including executives and board members) of the Laird Norton group of companies stepped away from the office on October 14 to dig in the mud.
We spent the day in Everett, WA pulling out invasive bushes (Himalayan blackberry and Scotch broom) on Union Slough, a tidal marsh on the Snohomish River, which you can see as you drive by on I-5. We were helping to restore this wetland to its native habitat, so it can better support the birds, fish and other wildlife in the area. The work was organized by the environmental nonprofit EarthCorps, familiar to many of us because they are a grant recipient of the Laird Norton Family Foundation (LNFF).
EarthCorps’ work is impactful both environmentally and socially. Since 1993, they have brought more than 1,000 young people from all over the world (from some 70 different countries) to the Puget Sound to work on environmental restoration projects and learn valuable leadership skills. They also organize volunteers like us to do restoration work. We were their largest work group since before the pandemic started, and it was obvious how excited they were to have so many of us there.
For us, it was great being around the youthful energy and optimism of EarthCorps staff and timely since the next global climate change conference (COP26) is scheduled for the end of October. Younger generations will bear the brunt of climate change. Making progress toward a more sustainable way of life is dependent on each of us doing our part at the local level.
We partner with client families to activate both their financial and personal resources through sustainable investing, charitable giving, and education of younger generations within client families and in the wider community. It comes full circle when we get to be a part of the Laird Norton family entities as they bring together their resources (LNFF foundation grantees plus company employees/volunteers) to maintain a local tidal marsh so it can support carbon sequestration, wildlife migration, salmon lifecycle and water filtration.
EarthCorps T-shirts read “restoring locally, leading globally.” While government reps attend COP26 to discuss how we unite the whole globe to care for the earth, it feels right to be digging in the mud locally.