Whether you’re a weekend Earth Warrior or an eco-conscious, bicycle-riding, fervent supporter of sustainability, fostering a work environment that supports a better planet is both economically rewarding and personally fulfilling. While not every industry immediately embraces environmental awareness in their core business model, there are small changes in corporate culture that anyone can suggest that can go a long way in transitioning a wasteful company into a sustainability forward workplace.
We provide actionable advice on how to do your part to ensure an incremental, yet results-getting sustainable focus in your work environment. Expand your personal efforts to create a positive climate impact from your own CV out to your office culture. From submitting organizations to your company-designated corporate giving team to volunteering for eco-conscious organizations to something as small as transitioning off from printed reports, we pull together a list of the top 8 changes you can advocate for to create a greener work culture!
Conserving Resources in the Office
Simple questions to your HR team can create engaging work environment communications. Ask about how you can contribute to a more sustainable office culture. Can you recommend less paper consumption and/or a switch to Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper only so that the office can support environmental conservation? What is the energy source for the building where your company is situated? Does the energy bill include wind or solar power sources? These simple questions can go a long way in sparking a conversation, and by following up on these answers you can indicate your dedication to these topics and to creating an eco-conscious work environment that employees can be proud of. A sustainability-focused work environment boosts employee morale, and can even ultimately save the company money due to tax breaks and other sustainability-focused initiatives and subsidies centered around inspiring more awareness around eco-conscious actions.
In addition to these straightforward measures, posting notes reminding staff that water conservation is also an important aspect of sustainability can go a long way in reducing water waste in an office restroom and/or kitchen. Another easy measure encouraging employees to conserve resources? Installing a water bottle filling fountain can dissuade staff from filling plastic cups with water, wasting plastic. Finally, learn more about your company’s carbon footprint. Does the business neutralize the carbon footprint created by traveling staff members? Is there an emphasis on reducing carbon footprint as part of the office culture? By encouraging positive habits such as water bottle reuse and careful water usage, a workplace can create measurable environmental impact and create a supportive, pro-sustainability community in the workplace.
Take Your Efforts Outside of the Office
Passionate about the environment and want to encourage community-building in the office around eco-conscious efforts? Your next step may just be helping to plan an office outing to volunteer for a local park or beach clean-up! Build teamwork and gain community respect at the same time through these environmental stewardship efforts.
In addition to spending time in the community to beautify public spaces and conserve natural spaces, learn how to best donate your company’s corporate giving funds to sustainability. Can you introduce a local environmental nonprofit to your corporate giving officer? Does your employee offer matching corporate giving dollars for money you donate to your choice of nonprofit? Empower yourself to gain a better sense of how to direct your company’s finances toward environmental conservation, and you will quickly see the positive impact at the local level!
Want to make it easy to make a greater impact? Talk to your friends to learn about how their companies are expanding their efforts to dedicate more energy toward sustainable initiatives. Find ways to partner up to double the impact by joining forces! Are there ways your company is already engaged in community improvement? Have a fun charity sports event between your employer and a rival company? Have other existing events and community partnerships that can raise awareness and funds for environmental conservation? See what already exists – don’t reinvent the wheel; instead, make sure that existing avenues for charitable funding are mobilized for funds to preserve environmental efforts.
Work for a larger company? Aim higher! While supporting local sustainability efforts is important, companies with a wider reach can make a culture shift toward more sustainable practices, a movement already industry-wide across fields such as consumer goods, fashion, finance and energy. Take a peek for reference at the Financial Times’ incredible one-sheet on business sustainability for key goals that large conglomerates are already pursuing. Gain inspiration from existing efforts – as well as better points for arguing your case for more sustainability throughout your company, from the micro- to the macro-level!
Communities are sustained by the businesses that are situated within them. Funding can and should return to the community, and as communities also support parks and natural preserves, it is crucial for companies to provide time, energy, funding and attention to these natural spaces along with local environmental initiatives preserving our ecological resources. Want even more ideas for after you’ve mobilized your company to support local sustainability initiatives? Take a look at the steps that these global companies have taken to exert a positive environmental impact through their business processes and corporate mission statements!
Have you created significant impact in your community by implementing sustainability measures at your company? Make a difference by orienting your business toward increased efforts to reduce environmental waste? Share your efforts in the comments below!