How To Engage Your Employees in Sustainability
Company culture is a huge part of any business. Building up a company culture of sustainability is a great way to help our environment and perpetuate the importance of conservation. A lot of businesses gladly volunteer for different organizations around the country to create a company culture of charity, which really helps engage employees and gives them a fun way to give back to the communities that support the company they work for!
Another great way to increase employee engagement and give back to our environment is to get your employees involved in a sustainability project. From recycling to composting, to beach or forest clean up, the possibilities are endless!
Implementing environmental practices is a great way to let your employees and customers know that you take sustainability very seriously and that you really do care about our environment. Here at Kabbage we take conservation and sustainability very seriously. We are always careful not to be wasteful, and we have recycling programs at both offices in Atlanta and San Francisco. Plus, our San Francisco office volunteered for the Golden Gate Conservancy back in April where we spent our morning in Marin doing beach cleanup and weeding out invasive plant species.
While volunteer projects are a great way to get your employees involved in environmental care, there are a lot of other ways you can implement an environmentally positive program to get your employees engaged in sustainability.
A great way to get your employees to recycle more is to create programs that reward them for recycling. You could have monthly contests between departments to see who was able to recycle the most or reduce their output of waste the most.
In addition to contests, you should also have a system put in place to recycle electronic items like batteries and old technological equipment. Increasing awareness and understanding will lead to compliance, so try clearly labeling all recycling bins and putting up signs that explain what is recyclable. Not only will this reduce your waste output but it can also save you money when it comes to waste management.
So create recycling goals for your team and make sure they meet them! You could have the goal to produce 60 percent less waste each month. Have employees save and reuse any type of glass or plastic they can. And be sure to use recycled paper products as well to further make green thinking a part of your company culture.
Eliminate Plastic Bottles
One of the biggest things we did here at the Kabbage’s San Francisco office to reduce our waste and become greener was to eliminate the use of plastic bottles within the office. In 2011 alone, 32 million tons of plastic waste was created in the United States! A great way to help save the environment is to install a filtration system or use water coolers so that you can reduce your use of plastic waste. Provide glass or ceramic cups for your employees to reduce even more paper or plastic waste.
Create Carpool Programs
Encourage your employees to walk to work, take public transportation, or carpool with one another to reduce greenhouse gas emission. You could provide preferred parking for those who do carpool, and you could give those who walk or take public transportation some sort of special monthly benefit like a half day or a free lunch once a month. If every single commuter in the Unites States carpooled with just one more person, we could save about eight billion gallons of gas a year!
Create A Compost Program
Having a compost program at your office can greatly help to prevent pollution because it avoids the production of methane by keeping organic materials away from landfills. Composting also helps to enrich soil and reduce the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides, overall making food growth more sustainable and better for humans. Composting programs are easy to implement. All you need is a container and a sign that explains what is compostable. You can compost all old food, used paper towels and napkins, and any already recycled materials like food containers.
Open A Community Garden
Community gardens are a great way to get your employees involved in a fun project that not only beautifies our environment but also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by growing more fruits and veggies locally and organically.
When it comes to office materials and supplies, it is best if your turn to local companies instead of big delivery companies. Shopping small and buying local greatly help reduce transportation costs and emissions while also helping to improve your local economy.
Reduce Energy Waste
A lot of businesses waste a lot of excess energy by lighting and cooling or heating vacant spaces. Install lights that automatically turn themselves on and off as people enter rooms to reduce the amount of energy output your business uses overall. You can also upgrade your heating and air conditioning systems to high-efficiency models. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that most office building waste about a third of the energy they consume. If you can reduce this amount by half, you could save thousands of dollars in energy costs and help the environment all at the same time.
Encouraging employees to bring their lunches to work in reusable containers is another effective way of promoting greener, sustainable practices. Takeout and delivery services, although convenient, create the need for packaging and transportation, which have negative effects on the environment. If delivery is a must, make a large order for the whole office to reduce the amount of transportation energy and packaging needed. Make sure your office is equipped with reusable plates, utensils, and cups so as to reduce waste, as well.
Having an overall greener work environment can help your business leave a lighter ecological footprint and make your employees healthier! There are a lot of ways you can make your office more sustainable, but first you have to look around and find your biggest faults. Do you waste a lot of paper or use a lot of plastic goods? Find your weakest areas and make changes there so that your employees are aware you are taking steps to improve your conservancy efforts. Remember reducing, reusing, and recycling is just the beginning. There are so many other ways you can go green and help the environment replenish itself! What are some of your green ideas?