Sustainability at Work
An essential first step in kicking off your business’ sustainability efforts is to put together a Green Team. Green Teams are vital as they establish and carry your company’s sustainability goals, as well as embody the sustainability principles you choose to adopt. Importantly, each departments should be represented by the members of your Green Team, ranging from custodial services to facilities, purchasing, finance, and marketing. This diverse make up enables your team to identify the various opportunities present for greening your company that would not be possible if the effort were isolated to a single department or program. Essentially, Green Teams function to:
- Create a sustainability vision or mission statement
- Embody the values of a sustainability vision
- Act as departmental sustainability champions
- Generate performance baselines
- Set goals
- Identify opportunities for coordination between departments to achieve goals
- Engage employees, and
- Envision incentives for employee participation in sustainability programs
Writing a sustainability strategy helps formalize your company’s sustainability vision, as well as create a formalized outline of your goals, the specific actions for achieving those goals, and the metrics used for measuring progress. Additionally, sustainability strategies can serve as platform for introducing policies and procedures, such as green purchasing and events policies, and toxics reduction policies.
Educate & Create Incentives
To achieve your sustainability goals, your employees—who are typically the people doing the work– need to know about and understand what those goals are, why they’re in place, who will be doing the work, how they’ll be doing, and when those goals need to be achieved by if they are time bound. Hold employee engagement sessions with large and small group discussions, as well as time for feedback to ensure your strategy is consistent with their work.
Education is only half of employee engagement. Look to provide incentives to get employees interest and excited about sustainability at work. Provide durable dishware for in-office use to cut down on purchasing of single-use items, or recognize a green employee of the month with a treat!