One of the major concerns that our world is facing today is climate change, air and water pollution and waste disposal. All things that affect our everyday life and sustainable choices is on the mind of many employees. Promoting green living can help to conserve energy and prevent air, water and noise pollution, and more. Like so many things, it needs planning and organizing. These are some of the first steps to take, towards eco-friendly behavior in the workplace.
Start a recycling program
Placing compost containers in lunchrooms and recycle bins near copiers and printers is likely to encourage workers to think and take action with recycling. Compost containers in lunchrooms can mean food waste is managed effectively and people think harder about the quantities they consume. A recycling program does not take a lot of time or funding – all a business needs are a couple of bins or cardboard boxes for employees to put their scrap paper in, and an agreement with a local recycling company willing to collect the paper at regular intervals. Staff can also be encouraged to use recycled paper for internal note-taking. Research shows that manufacturing recycled paper is not a clean process but does uses less than half the water and up to 65 per cent less energy than paper sourced from "virgin pulp".
Reduce printer use
Companies can encourage workers to use both sides of the paper when printing and making photocopies, and also purchase recycled paper and other recycled office products. Additionally, if companies make printing more inconvenient, people are less likely to do it. This may not work for everyone, especially if parts of a company rely heavily on printing, but in this case a slow transition to a digital document management system can take place.
Encourage green commuting
More and more companies are providing workers with the means to work from home because they recognise the wide-reaching benefits of it. Companies can also provide storage for bicycles to encourage more workers to cycle into work. This environmentally-friendly option cuts out all the energy use, carbon emissions, and frustrations that come from commuting in daily traffic jams. Companies can also set up a carpool so that more than one person sharing a ride uses half the fuel, saving money and reducing carbon emissions.
Plan for a sustainable future
Once small green measures are in place, companies can begin to think about long-term strategies that can help the company become more environmentally sustainable, which will also impress this value onto its workers. This could mean insulation and window treatments to keep a space cool in the summer and warm in the winter at a reduced cost/emission rate. Introducing shower facilities can make it easier for workers to cycle or jog to work, thereby leaving the car at home.
Read more about ISS’s approach to sustainability, here.