How to Build Green Awareness in Your Business

image: green in business rolesIn addition to executive management playing a critical role in the success of a company, business sustainability requires leadership across the entire organization.  While management may ultimately carry the responsibility of sustainable business results, employees have a part to play in the definition and implementation of the company’s business sustainability programs.

As sustainability consultants, we are frequently asked, What are ways to build eco awareness in a business?   The quick answer:  In building eco awareness into your business, we promote building of a comprehensive business sustainability program.  However, we realize that sometimes starting small can lead to bigger gains. So, while a corporate sustainability plan may be our suggested path, there are other steps you can take as well.

"Green Teams", a formal or informal group of people in a company who are passionate about environmental issues, are gathering in offices across America to brainstorm solutions and promote ways in which their company's practices can become more environmentally sustainable.  As explained in our sustainability consulting, a green team can reduce paper use, increase recycling, promote energy conservation, and more, making a huge difference within a department or building.  Green teams also offer employee engagement opportunities.

Link eco awareness programs to existing company offerings, as in wellness programs.   Wellness programs have been uses as instruments to address weight reduction, reduced stress levels, improved physical fitness, health, and well being.  They may include fitness, recreation, social activities and programs to enhance intellectual and spiritual development.  Providing employees with wellness programs not only provides them a way to improve their health, but it also demonstrates corporate social responsibility.

Create individual employee sustainability programs: The basic premise of a personal sustainability program is to reduce your carbon footprint, lighten the load on the planet as well as reap the benefits of living a more sustainable lifestyle. Eco actions taken in a personal sustainability plan can be anything from riding a bike to work or eating organic healthy meals or recycling.  It can also be about achieving a personal goal, sustaining it, and building from that platform.

Educate: Offer ongoing workshops, training, lunch and learns, and educational activities to educate workers on the environmental issues (energy, water, waste, and others) and the associated actions causing the problems.  Identify new behavior and eco actions that individually workers can take to create new patterns of behavior and choices that support environmental solutions and are aligned with the company's overarching sustainability plan.   We've learned in our eco friendly training classes, the first part is educating; the harder part is changing the behavior. Ongoing education helps create lasting change.

Create a sustainable work environment: The benefits of a sustainable work environment include a healthier more sustainable workforce; a more productive workforce; attracts quality employees and reduces turnover. It also reduces lost work time related to health issues.

These efforts enable proactive businesses leaders to capture the benefits of sustainable business: reduce business costs, improve business reputation, and attract and maintain top job candidates.

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