The United States is responsible for emitting more than 5.3 billion tons of carbon emissions each year. This works out at roughly the same weight as 24 million Statues of Liberty. Because of this, there is now a concerted approach to tackling the issue. Many of the largest corporations in the world such as Siemens and Cisco Systems are now adopting environmentally sustainable practices. This is also causing a trickle-down effect, as businesses in all sectors, large or small, are now actively working on reducing their carbon footprint. While the adoption of green policies in the workplace is essential to fighting back against global warming and climate change, your employees must be fully informed and on board for it to be a success. Here are some of the ways that your business can promote environmentally sustainable practices in the workplace.
The first step to promoting sustainable practices within your workplace is to educate your workers and explain to them the importance of going green. Whilst most people know what climate change is, chances are the majority won’t have done much research into it, while others might be completely oblivious. Sustainable policies will only be implemented when everyone understands why they are important, so make sure to recount easy-to-digest facts that will strike a chord among your workers so that they feel compelled to get involved and help out. For instance, you could motivate your workforce to be far more energy efficient when you reveal that the total amount of power used by idle computers in American offices is roughly the same as that of 12 nuclear power plants.
Once you start rolling out your company’s greenlit movies, you’ll need to consider how you’re going to monitor its progress. Consider selecting a group of employees that are most in-tune with sustainable living, in order to form a ‘green team’. They can be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day performances of their peers, which in turn, will motivate others around the workplace. If you have a team that works well together and understands what to look out for on a day-to-day basis, then your eco-friendly policies can run seamlessly and successfully.
Make it Fun
Usually, when you introduce new rules in the workplace, workers initially find it easy to abide by them as they are still fresh in the mind. However, after time goes on, complacency can kick in, and there’s also a chance that the newfound policies will soon start to lose their appeal and be less engaging. To avoid this from happening, you can inject them with fun, and even encourage some healthy competition among your employees. You could set up a scoreboard that calculates how many carbon emissions are produced every day per person to make it more interesting for everyone involved.
Going green in the workplace is not only good for the environment, but you can also greatly help your company’s bottom line as well. If you encourage your workers to do everything within their means to cut back on unnecessary energy consumption and waste, then you’ll reap the rewards in the long run. Let your workers understand the financial benefits of sustainability, and incentivize them into saving you more money by offering to share out the savings with them every month. This could range from gift vouchers and cash rewards to group outings and parties.
Use Less Paper
The average office worker in the US uses around 10,000 sheets of paper every year, which is a considerable amount of waste for one person. Get everyone in the office to take advantage of Google Drive, which is free and widely accessible, and can be used to create, modify and share a wide range of file formats. Have your marketing team compose emails rather than sending out countless envelopes every month, and when it comes to invoices, these can also be created and processed digitally. Going down this paperless route will ensure that you minimize the total amount of waste created per head, and you can also lower your electricity output as printers, photocopiers and scanners are some of the most costly appliances in terms of utility bills.
One of the most stressful parts of the day for any worker is the commute from home to the office, and back again. Each individual trip to the workplace contributes to the amount of CO2 emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere, unless on foot or by bicycle. Not only that but the more employees you have working at the same office space each day, the more electricity and waste is produced, which is why you should allow your staff to telecommute from home. Video conferencing has made telecommuting a very popular way for businesses to cut back on costs and be more environmentally-friendly, and it significantly boosts the levels of engagement within the workforce. Telecommuting is one of the best ways to promote sustainable practices for your business, as employees love to experience the freedom of working from their home from time to time, and keeps them loyal to the company.
Carbon emissions are virtually unavoidable for most activities in the workplace, but putting in place sustainable initiatives can definitely make a difference, particularly if every business in the country were to also follow suit. Your green policies should be set in stone from the outset, and all employees should be made fully aware of what’s expected from them. By promoting these practices into your business, you’ll save on many costs and can even earn some tax breaks. Employees are also more likely to feel like they have cause to believe in, rather than just a paycheck to take home.