From the smallest start-up to the biggest mega-corporation, there is one responsibility we all share: keeping our planet healthy. Earth is the only home we’ve got, and, it’s up to us to ensure that it’s a clean, safe place to live for future generations.
Since the beginning of the environmentalist movement, businesses have taken a leadership role. From instituting recycling programs to pledging to reduce their carbon footprints to hosting seminars and courses, companies around the world have joined together to embrace eco-friendly lifestyles and workspaces. Here are a few easy-to-implement tips to help your company start “going green” today.
Start a Sustainability Committee
Start with planning – but remember, you don’t need to come up with every “green idea” yourself. Establish a sustainability committee where interested team members can get together and brainstorm energy-saving strategies, plan events, and more.
Your company’s sustainability committee can even partner with local green initiatives to give back to your community. For example, pick a “green space” in your town, such as a park or lake, and volunteer to pick up trash or raise money for wildlife preservation.
Host Green Events + Challenges
Did you know that “going green” can do double duty as a team spirit building initiative for your business? Host monthly or quarterly go-green challenges to encourage eco-friendly behaviour within the office. You could suggest going a few weeks without plastic utensils at lunch, or pledge to keep the entire office one degree warmer for an entire summer. Reward successful challenge completers with green-themed prizes such as water bottles or reusable shopping bags.
Don’t limit engagement to simply your employees. Host events for the community, such as a fundraising picnic or 5k race at the park of your choice. You could even organise an educational seminar where your company shares information about their green efforts with interested locals. You might just wind up becoming the newest “green leader” in the area.
Offices generate enormous amounts of paper every year – and so much of it winds up in landfills. Take stock of how much paper you are using every day, and seek out paperless alternatives wherever possible.
Instead of printing out a meeting agenda, send it by email the evening prior. Encourage non-paper-based communication by setting up a work chat server on Discord or Slack. Start recording meetings rather than taking paper minutes. Announce company events on your social media pages – it’s a far more effective communication strategy than giving out paper flyers.
Remember to Turn it Off
Make sure that all electronics in the office are properly turned off every time they are done being used. Remember that many appliances, such as computers, are “energy vampires” – capable of sucking up huge amounts of power even when in “sleep mode”. Simply opting for turning things off can save on both money AND electricity usage!
Notice which electronics are most likely to be left on – the bathroom lights? The coffee maker? The printer? – and put up reminder signs in those areas. You could even have “make sure all electronics are turned off” as a rotating duty shared among members of your team. It’s another great way to both “go green” and boost community spirit!
Encourage Green Commuting
Shrink your company’s carbon footprint by encouraging public transportation, biking and carpooling. Keep bus and/or train timetables in the office. Make sure there are plenty of safe, easy-to-access spaces for bikes, scooters and other energy-efficient transportation to be stored on site.
Changing your commuting habits can be daunting, so lead by setting a good example for your employees. Find out who lives near you and set up a carpool system with them. Set up a channel in the work chat server to discuss carpooling options. You could even offer rewards such as access to prime parking spaces for people who make the swap.
Don’t Forget Literal “Going Green”
Finally, make sure to fill your office with plenty of literal green in the form of plants. Office plants are a great way to both keep the air in the building fresh and healthy and encourage the use of natural light. It’s hard to remember to open the blinds to give yourself some sun, but you’re much more likely to do so when you’ve got a plant to take care of.
Plus, office plants, especially flowering ones, have even been shown to dramatically increase morale and positive attitudes. Adding just one plant could double the number of smiles you see around the office every day.
“Going green” doesn’t have to be about big, dramatic efforts. Start small and local. Encourage the collaboration and participation of your team members. Work together to create a positive, eco-friendly office that everyone gets to enjoy.