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How to encourage employees to participate in sustainability initiatives at your workplace

encourage employees to participate in sustainability initiatives at your workplace

What is sustainability in a workplace?

Sustainability initiatives in the workplace involve reducing the negative impact of business activities on the environment, society, and economy, while also promoting positive impacts. When considering environmental practices, provide training to your employees. Help employees to understand the company values and sustainability initiatives. It all starts by making sure that the company has an environmentally-friendly mission statement. The statement must reflect a commitment to stewardship on a specific environmental impact. Becoming certified to the international standard confirms your commitment to business development, sustainability requirements, and shows you have a legitimate and relevant environmental management system.

Sustainability in the workplace involves reducing waste and pollution, conserving natural resources, promoting energy efficiency throughout the space, using renewable energy sources, promoting social responsibility, supporting local communities, and fostering economic growth. It may also involve adopting sustainable practices in the supply chain, promoting sustainable transportation options for employees, and encouraging a culture of sustainability among employees. Companies may wish to obtain a selection criterion when choosing suppliers to ensure they align with the sustainable values listed within that company. A few simple changes for a more sustainable, green workplace culture will drastically minimise your company’s carbon footprint. Sustainable companies want to do business with companies that share their values. And your achievements might encourage others to do the same.

Sustainability in the workplace is an important factor for businesses and organizations, as consumers and stakeholders are demanding more responsible and sustainable practices. The expectation from employees and consumers is there now, more than ever. In fact, environment and climate change are the primary concern for Gen Z. By adopting promoting good practice, businesses can not only reduce their environmental footprint and enhance their social impact, but also improve their bottom line through cost savings and increased efficiency.

What is an example of sustainability in the workplace?

There are many examples of Sustainability Ideas in the workplace, and there can be many diverse initiatives taken by companies to encourage green practices. Where possible, companies should really prioritize sustainable initiatives for now and in the future. Some sustainability initiatives in the workplace are as follows:

1. Energy Efficiency

An example of energy efficiency in the workplace is switching to LED light bulbs, which consume less and have a longer lifespan than traditional incandescent bulbs. Smart technology like Censored lights are also extremely energy efficient as they only turn on when they need to be turned on, when an office is in use. This is a great initiative that will help promote a green team, without relying on the staff’s remembrance to turn everything off. This way companies can save energy, save money and see effective long term benefits.

2. Waste Reduction

Implement a recycling program, such as composting or paper waste reduction, can significantly reduce the amount of waste that a workplace generates. Consider implementing simple and achievable steps first, like Communal waste bins. You can then enhance this initiative by adding easily recycled paper, organic waste, general waste, paper towels , and other raw materials. Starting a corporate recycling program is a smart way to get serious about a sustainable workplace for the average office worker, especially as about 90 per cent of office waste can be recycled , making this the ultimate quick win. For example, courage your employees to print double sided.

3. Food Waste

Food waste and other trash generated in office kitchens contribute significantly to carbon emissions. Consider installing an office composting system in your company’s kitchen and hiring a group to come to pick up and repurpose at-risk food to reduce food waste. Providing reusable plates and utensils significantly help in reducing carbon emmisions. And if you have food waste or coffee grinds waste, pick up some recycled paper bags or tell your colleagues to BYO container to take them home for use in the garden compost.

4. Sustainable Practices

Co-create these practices with employees A recent survey about employee engagement strategies showed that giving your employees a voice in creating the company’s sustainability programme is one of the most effective ways to keep them engaged. When employees are given the opportunity to create your company’s sustainability they can feel empowered and part of the solution, which in turn boosts overall morale for your team.

5. Sustainable Transportation

Engage employees to use public transportation, carpooling, using an electric car, or biking to work can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable transportation. Consider going one step further and providing employees with bicycle storage, within your workspace. This is a great initiative that encourages your employees to utilize green transport, use less energy and show them that you as a company are being proactive in promoting a green team.

6. Sustainable Sourcing

Sourcing products and services from local, sustainable suppliers can reduce the environmental impact of transportation and support local communities. Companies may wish to have a strict selective criteria when it comes to choosing suppliers of their products. For example, a large office space may be saving energy by using sustainable and eco-friendly toilet paper, hand soaps, ink cartridges, etc. Choice of supplier should also align with the company’s sustainable values, in efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Consider promoting helpful initiatives like Meatless Monday. This also offers a range of free resources such as how-to guides and recipes to get you started.

7. Water Conservation

Installing low-flow faucets, toilets and other water-saving devices can conserve water and reduce a workplace’s water bill, and also save energy. You may consider implementing rainwater harvesting systems that include tanks in/around your building. Water saving taps can also play its role in ensuring your company is participating in sustainability practices.

8. Paper Reduction

Going paperless or reducing paper usage by using digital communication and document storage can save trees and reduce waste. Consider using deforestation free paper. Where possible, companies can do what they can to reduce the emission of your carbon footprint, by implementing realistic achievements in their office space and for their sectors.

Office environmental initiatives towards reducing their impact on the environment play an essential role in the sustainability of a positive impact. Your employees can join thousands doing the same, in reducing their paper waste, raw material waste, plastic waste, and other waste. For example, it is quite difficult for a shared office space to promote a paperless office entirely as that step would be similar to taking the flour out of a bakery. Or perhaps the ink out of a tattoo parlour.

Instead, companies can adopt a realistic and achievable target to reduce paper wastage and mitigate the outcome of using printers, like choosing to use recycled paper, recycled ink cartridges, or printers that have green saver mode, or even make use of double sided printing. Where possible, a company could significantly cut down on paper use as a whole. If each employee is given the proper training, sustainability and green initiatives become more achievable options.

9. Carbon Footprint

Reduce Carbon Footprint. The company can support its staff in taking alternative modes of transportation. As mentioned above, consider encouraging employees and employers to walk, use a bike, electric car, or carpooling with colleagues. Occasionally, the company can allow employees to do remote work from home. The use of innovative workflow tools keeps the team connected while promoting these sustainable initiatives.

10. Social Responsibility

It’s not all about climate change. Promoting a culture of social responsibility by supporting charitable causes and volunteering in the community can enhance a workplace’s reputation and positively impact society. It is important for companies to not only encourage the promotion of sustainable business practices, but to also proactively promote these practices too. For example, encouraging green travel is one thing. Implementing a bicycle storage facility in your workplace so that your employees can actually cycle to work is what is meant by a proactive approach.

Social responsibility also includes an active and proactive approach to voicing, recognising and volunteering for charitable causes and other community driven organizations. Why not take part in monthly green challenges? For example, if a workplace wanted to actively demonstrate social responsibility practices, they could take part in a soup kitchen. Or perhaps engage with employees on a blanket and coat appeal. There are many charities and organizations that openly allow companies to support their cause and already have initiatives in place to do so.

Unlock the Benefits of a Sustainable Workplace

Who implements the company’s sustainability strategy?

The implementation of a company’s sustainability strategy typically involves various stakeholders within the organization, including senior management, sustainability teams, and employees at all levels. It is their responsibility to implement, maintain, and monitor environmental performance. Top level management plays a critical role in setting the strategic direction and goals of the sustainability strategy, as well as providing the necessary resources and support to ensure its successful implementation and operating costs. Consider allowing your employees to take part in the company’s Sustainability Ideas.

Sustainability teams or departments are often responsible for developing and overseeing the execution of reducing carbon footprint. These teams typically include sustainability experts and professionals who have the knowledge and skills necessary to implement sustainable practices within the organization. Employees at all levels also play a crucial role in implementing the sustainability strategy, as they are often the ones responsible for carrying out specific actions and initiatives. Employee engagement and participation are key to the success of a sustainability strategy, as they can help to drive the necessary changes in behavior and practices across the organization.

In addition, external stakeholders such as suppliers, customers, investors, and communities can also play a role in implementing a company’s sustainability strategy for climate change. For example, suppliers may need to adopt sustainable practices in order to meet the company’s sustainability standards, while customers may need to change their behavior to support the company’s goals.

Read More: Best strategies for improving employee engagement?

What is a sustainable coworking space?

A sustainable coworking space should be designed and operated with a focus on environmental responsibility, social responsibility, and sustainability. Firstly, the space should use energy-efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainable initiatives like renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, should be explored to meet the space’s energy needs. In addition, the space should be designed with natural light and ventilation to reduce the need for artificial lighting and air conditioning. This will not only reduce energy consumption but also create a healthier and more comfortable workspace for members.

Secondly, a sustainable coworking space should incorporate sustainable materials and practices into its design and operations, with climate change being front of mind. The use of eco friendly materials, such as recycled or upcycled furniture and fixtures, should be prioritized, while avoiding materials that are harmful to the environment, such as plastics and toxic chemicals. You may consider upcycling existing furniture like boardroom tables, chairs, countertops and proactively doing this through local suppliers if possible. You should implement waste reduction programs, such as composting and recycling, to minimize the amount of waste generated by its members. Furthermore, the space should actively encourage sustainable transportation options, such as biking, walking, or public transportation, by providing bicycle storage, end-of-trip facilities, and easy access to public transport. Another great initiative is to add greenery and improve air quality in your office space. Quite literally, add more green to your office with office plants.

Thirdly, a sustainable coworking space should have a strong focus on social responsibility. The space should promote diversity, equity, and inclusion among its members and prioritize the well-being of its community. The space should provide opportunities for members to connect and collaborate with each other, creating a sense of community and support. Additionally, the space should support local businesses and organizations that align with its values and mission. Lastly, a sustainable coworking space should prioritize transparency and accountability. The space should track and report on its sustainability performance, including energy and water usage, waste generation and diversion, and greenhouse gas emissions.

The space should also seek regular input and feedback from its members and stakeholders to continuously improve its sustainability practices and overall impact. By prioritizing transparency and accountability, an environment focused work space can demonstrate its commitment to sustainability and inspire others to follow suits.

Earth Hour

Earth Hour , run by WWF is the world’s biggest global movement to look after our planet. During March every year, your employees can partake in this event by turning off their power for an hour, as a reminder that a simple switch-off in your daily life can make an impact on the Earth. By encouraging employees to minimise the use of electronic devices, even for an hour, can show that you are playing your part in life cycle thinking.

Sustainable Coworking at United Co.

Sustainable companies such as United Co. have implemented proactive solutions such as solar panels on its roof, energy-efficient lighting and heating systems, waste reduction programs, encouraging sustainable transportation options by providing bike racks and end-of-trip facilities.

United Co. also supports local businesses by sourcing environmentally friendly products and services from local suppliers.

With a strong focus on social responsibility, United Co. promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion among its members and provides opportunities for members to connect and collaborate with each other. Get in touch today to learn more about pro actively choosing to work in a sustainable workplace!