Join or create a work team focused on dreaming up and implementing schemes to reduce the impact your workplace has on the environment.
The understanding that workplaces have an important role to play in moving us towards sustainability is relatively new.
Accordingly, many businesses and organisations remain unsure of how to put this into practice. Creating or joining committees, ideas groups, and Green Teams to focus on and implement pro-environmental change at work can make a real difference! While some of the initial actions available to workplaces are easily identified and common to many organisations (for example, reducing and recycling paper), the ongoing support and success of these programs relies on the enthusiasm and commitment of the people behind them. We’re all teachers and we’re all learners – together we can achieve big things!
How to do it now!
The range of activities, goals and foci of a Green Team is unlimited, as almost every aspect of any organisation could be made more efficient in its use of environmental resources.
While the other actions mentioned in this section are a good starting point, they simply represent the low-hanging fruit most organisations could pick. That said, we need to be aware that even implementing these actions requires a team of informed, focused and dedicated individuals intent on making, tailoring and implementing them. Further analysis of your organisation's specific makeup will reveal a new and more appropriate list of actions to take as a next step.
Creating a green team
Forming a group intended to evolve the organisation's environmental agendas and focused on implementing on-the-ground solutions to environmental problems can greatly improve an organisation's environmental performance.
In general, Green Teams design and implement programs that include many of the following aims:
To work with management to set goals for environmental improvement, along with incremental steps toward these goals.
To educate and raise staff awareness of the environmental impact of their workplace and the work done in it (e.g. include environmental component in staff induction process, internally brand sustainability programs, etc).
To explore and develop sustainable alternatives to these environmental impacts of the workplace (e.g. develop priorities list of sustainable initiatives and/or behaviour change initiatives).
To engage staff in maintaining and improving these sustainable alternatives (e.g. track paper recycling program and tweak to customise and improve).
To monitor and promote the status of and improvement in environmental goals (e.g. provide regular updates of progress and environmental benefits of the program, as well as highlighting non-environmental benefits).
Why is this action important?
Our workplaces consume by far the lion's share of resources in our society. By working to improve the environmental sustainability of our workplaces, we take responsibility for the environmental quality of all aspects of our daily lives. By doing this, we take a giant step forward in moving our society toward a more sustainable path.
Why do this action?
Fights climate change
Reduce water use
Businesses, farms and other organisations control the environmental impacts of their operation, their products and their production processes. Environmental responsibility, for many, is a new and emerging reality. As a result, there is much room for improvement in the environmental performance of many organisations. Together, we can make great gains in reducing carbon emissions and water use and reducing waste generation, thus speeding our transition to a sustainable society.
The benefits of making our work spaces healthier and more environmentally friendly are significant - including engaging all levels of staff in something positive and productive, working more closely with local communities and improving morale around the office. This action will help us all to feel proud to be a part of the organisations in which we work!