Feeling like you’re just a clog in the wheel and can’t make a difference at work? Wrong! Small changes lead to collective impact, and your work place can be the ideal place to share sustainability vibes.
Here are our top tips for up-ing the eco game at work:
Get the basics right
Whether you’re a team of 5, or team of 1000, your work place is going to make waste. This is the perfect place to start.
Implement company policies on waste management, set up with the right facilities (labelled waste bins and instructions beside), and make sure that it’s actually going to the right places.
A few rules:
- Double sided printing when possible
- Always ask: do I really need to print this?
- No disposable coffee cups allowed in the office
- Penalties if you’re found not separating waste correctly
Lead the change
It may seem impossible to influence your workplace, but simple actions and leading by example, can make the biggest impact. Make that reusable coffee cup the coolest thing that has hit your office all year. Invite a few colleagues to start carpooling with you. Let the smell of beeswax wraps ripple through the air when you sit down to eat your plastic free lunch. There is power in being a quiet presence, and your actions will not go unseen.
Challenge your workmates
Influencing workplace culture towards a more sustainably conscious and eco-focused mindset, is the ultimate goal. Part of this, comes from a healthy level of workplace competition and involvement. Everyone likes a good challenge!
Raise awareness through a monthly theme and focus. Use our Choices Checklist: choose one line per month, and create a fun way to tackle the challenge as a company.
Once you’re over the initial steps, and have eco-working on everyone’s minds, start to set bigger goals. Consider your power and electricity usage could lessen, investigate the carbon foot-print of travel within your company, and how that could be made neutral. Making a small change in a large company, can make a world of difference.
Get the top dogs involved
Change can certainly happen through the work of individuals lower in the corporate hierarchy, but big and long lasting change, will come when upper management is held accountable. Get the top dogs involved! If they’re demonstrating sustainable business habits, chances are far more likely the rest of the team will too.
Once the big guns are on board with eco-initiatives, ensure staff feedback is encouraged. Hear what employees have to say (or if you’re an employee, fight for a space in the conversation), and be vocal about the changes you’re making to act on them. Staff morale and loyally will skyrocket when you truly ask what staff think; it’s not only good for the planet, but also good for business.
Think of the figures
The idea that sustainability will hinder your revenue and profit, has been proven wrong several times. Profitability and money is talking in this space.
One of the biggest global companies in the world, Unilever, released that their most sustainable brands showed 46% more growth, relative to others under their umbrella. Fiji Xerox incorporate sustainability practices into every stage of their value chain, and have helped an Australian healthcare company reduce their printing costs by 91.2%.
WHERE TO NEXT?
If you’re an individual, make these things happen. Lead the change in your daily habits, get the basics right, challenge your workmates, think big, and convince your managers.
If you’re a business, assess where you’re at, and create a plan around your sustainability goals. Mapping out your business footprint can seem like a scary thing to do, but professionals will help you out and see where you can be truly impactful as a company. Get in touch with Carolyn for full workplace foot prints and where your office can improve.