“You can’t manage what you don’t measure” ~ Peter Drucker
The movement towards greener, more sustainable work environments is gaining momentum. Many see this as a real challenge. While the intent is good, businesses often make a few changes, such as installing recycling bins for paper, metal, and plastics, then they get stuck.
The Economics of Sustainability
Transitioning your company to more sustainable practices and fixing key waste issues most economically compounds the challenge. By keeping in mind that sustainability is a constant work in progress, trying different approaches is the best means of discovering what works best in your environment.
Convincing the rank and file that your sustainability efforts are viable, buy-in must be top-down. Include Investors, Sustainability Managers, Facility Managers, Senior Buyers, Procurement Specialists, Waste Management Coordinator, and everyone else who can help implement and sustain these efforts.
With these members, and their associated staff, run an Assumption Slam to develop a comprehensive sustainability program that can be easily implemented. Create “Green Teams” and hold “strategy sessions.” Use this project sheet to guide you in identifying the steps you will need to launch a successful program. Break the whole project down into smaller components and let each group develop ideas to enhance the program.
Here we’ve included some of the many green initiatives that you can include in your Assumption Slam!
First, Create a Mission Statement that reflects your company’s values. By committing to environmental responsibility and stewardship, you create a positive social impact.
How to Engage Your Employees
- Include the company’s values on sustainability in training programs
- Set up a training budget for employees to attend seminars, conferences, or online training
- Make a trained employee one of your keynote speakers at your next training event and ask them to share. Develop employee buy-in
- Bring in a speaker, curate videos and incorporate into “lunch & learn” training sessions
- Help employees get caught up in the enthusiasm; establish a green team and provide your employees with opportunities to contribute to your company’s sustainability initiatives
The Greener The Better – Conserve Energy
- Replace fluorescent lights with energy-efficient lights
- Use Smart Power Strips that turn off peripheral equipment
- Enable sleep/power saver features on computers and other equipment
Green Up Your Suppliers
- Shop local vendors for as many services as possible, keeping the money in the community
- Develop a supplier policy that rewards positive social and environmental impacts
- Reduce water consumption by installing low-flow toilets
- Reduce water usage in bathroom sinks by installing low-flow faucet aerators
Recycle and Reduce Waste
- If your breakroom is lucky enough to have a dishwasher, consider replacing paper and plastic products with real plates, cups, and utensils.
- Install waste, recycling, and compost bins with appropriate signage for each type of stream
- When printing documents for in-house use, print on both sides. Saving to e-documents is a great paper-saver
Develop tracking metrics that will help you track and assess the effectiveness of your sustainability program. Once you have your sustainability program in place, take the time to evaluate its impact. Keep what is working, get rid of what’s not, and think of new and innovative ways to promote “green.”