The corporate world has recently seen a growing interest in environmental management techniques Although the motion has been slow in some countries, today’s working generation is mostly aware and conscientious towards sustainability at workplace therefore they are more likely to target organizations with environmental conservation in their DNA.
Organizations on the other hand must implement both voluntary and mandatory measure to onboard all employees and make it easier for them to make green choices.
Making Green choices at work isn’t hard work
A Top-Down management approach is key in successfully implementing green initiatives. Having a green committee with representatives amongst the workforce acts as a catalyst and is an interface between employees and management to drive the initiatives.
Taking a little deeper dive, let’s look at few initiatives that are tested and can be implemented in any organization.
Electricity and fuel are two big ticket items in energy utilization in most of organizations specially in this region However responsible organizations must be aware of the financial and environmental aspects of energy saving. Fuel Conservation: simple measures can go a long way. Corporates can look atinstalling vehicle tracking system, route optimization, use of right grade fuel, efficient preventive maintenance program, , and observing speed limits.
Electricity Conservation: Few initiatives that can have big impact such as adapting to solar power for water heaters, parking / boundary lighting; use of sunlight for daylight; replacing CFL lighting with LED’s; usage of smart power strips; installing motion detection lights; use of HVAC in optimum way; switching off idling office equipment.
Usable water supply is depleting year on year. Within next 3 decades demand for fresh water can increase by 30%. Foreseeing this shortage, corporates must start the conserving process immediately now by fixing low flow toilets, fixing faucet aerators to taps for controlled water flow; using drip irrigation for garden; and training employees on water conservation.
Single use plastic and Styrofoam can contribute to the biggest share in office waste. Adopt a policy to stop usage of single use materials. Avoid plastic cutlery, plastic bottles and styrofoam kitchenware.
if it is still difficult to go completely paperless, start with two-side print policy. A centralized printing solution can be installed while monitoring the print activity. However, shifting to a paperless environment must be the ultimate solution for organizations marching towards sustainable business and it shall begin with implementing document management system, going digital and minimizing hard-record keeping.
By following correct recycling practices we can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, conserve natural resources and prevent pollution. Instill the habit of sorting at the source; provide bins for recycling; install a food composter; and educate employees on correct usage. But above all you must nurture a recycling culture in the organization through awareness programs and consistent messaging about best environmental practices.
It is proven that a gentle push, a nudge, in the right direction can help people make right decisions. Few nudges that can be used are electricity conservation stickers at switchboards, optimal printing nudges on office desks, water conservation nudges at taps and recycling nudges at the recycling bins.
Ensure that your vendor selection process is environmentally -sensitive and considers environmentfriendly partners and is constantly comparing the environmental impact of a product and purchasing products that are locally manufactured / available.
Employee Engagement and behavior
Training and retraining employees on the importance of environment conservation is necessary to inculcate the habit. However, training can be in form of community environment drives such as park cleaning or beach cleaning campaigns, environment quizzes, E-Waste collection drives, Best from waste competitions and seminars. Gamification of initiatives and well-designed reward schemes help in motivating employees.
At the backend it is necessary to set smart objectives and have a framework encompassing the initiatives and measure the effectiveness to plan continual improvement.
What’s in it for you – Benefits of a Green Workplace
Environment conservation has benefits to individuals, organizations, communities, flora and fauna. Well-designed environment initiatives instill a practice of environment friendly lifestyle. As environmental programs focus on office supplies, stationary, water, energy and power savings, there will be a direct correlation on the resource savings to the bottom line of organization profits. And from the community and global perspective, conservation can have a good impact on reduction in waste, fresh air, better temperature, cleaner food, clean water, greener pastures and healthier people.