(Certified Best Practice by BMPCOE)
Polaroid Corporation - Waltham, MA
Although a very successful film-producing company in the early 1980s, Polaroid had not fully appreciated the surrounding community's increasing environmental concerns nor recognized the value of educating these neighbors on the company's business practices. In the middle 1980s, public interest groups, perhaps confused about the actual environmental practices embedded in Polaroid's manufacturing process, made public accusations against the company. Although these negative claims were often voiced without proper research, the public typically accepted the accusations. Polaroid's environmental leadership then realized they had very few avenues to disseminate correct data since the company had no formal method of educating the community. Recognizing the significant role which the local community had over industry through local environmental agencies, Polaroid responded to the situation with an open and honest effort by partnering with the local community.
Polaroid opened its doors to the public through facility tours, community meetings, communication links, a community newsletter, and an environmental report which listed specific environmental information about the company. Besides community education, Polaroid also began creating internal educational programs for its employees to inform them about environmental issues and processes within the company.
Polaroid now promotes community involvement and open communications within its facilities. Through community surveys and open meetings, Polaroid works with the community and recognizes that the residents' viewpoints and concerns may differ from those of the company. Polaroid receives several calls each year seeking its environmental leadership's assistance in interpreting environmental issues and recommendations. The trust created between Polaroid, its communities, and environmental groups has now become an asset to all involved.