Engaging your employees in fighting climate change can lower the carbon footprint of your business and build a more positive corporate culture.
The heart of any organization is its employees. Every day, employees make decisions that have a direct impact on your business's energy consumption and waste generation. Harnessing their ideas and enthusiasm can create a fantastic opportunity to reduce your business's carbon footprint, while building a more positive corporate culture.
Options for Engaging Employees
Consider some of the following easy-to-implement ideas to kick-start action in your organization:
- Show support from the top. Leadership matters, so two of the most important things you can do are lead by example and communicate to your employees that the company is committed to taking action on climate change and energy efficiency.
- Start a green team. Establish a steering committee that can reach out to all arms of your organization to motivate action. From purchasing officials and building experts, to fleet managers and office administrators, there are a variety of experienced people that can make a contribution. Make sure there are channels through which ideas that are generated bottom-up can be advanced and rewarded.
- Don't miss the easy first steps. Showing early success can help motivate employees and establish momentum for the future. Here are some quick ideas to launch action in your organization:
- Green Meetings - Start each meeting with a "green moment" that can be a tip or interesting fact about energy efficiency or waste reduction. Avoid any unnecessary printing and try to connect with out-of-office staff members via phone or videoconferencing to avoid travel.
- Waste-Free Lunches - Encourage staff to think about ways to reduce how much waste they may be generating with packing lunch and provide reusable dishes and cutlery at the office to cut down on waste.
- "Leave the Car Home" Day - We rely heavily on our personal vehicles to get to and from work. Have a team or branch of your organization challenge itself to find alternate ways to work, such as by carpooling, taking public transit (where available), walking or biking.
- Acknowledge and applaud success. Showcase actions by individual employees or divisions that are making a difference in your organizations. A monthly newsletter or "action of the month" can help all employees see what is possible.
- Develop policies and guidelines. As employees become engaged with your organization's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, you may wish to set out policies or guidelines that can solidify action going forward. For example, you could establish a green procurement policy so your organization only buys ENERGY STAR-certified office equipment, fuel-efficient vehicles, and paper with a high recycled content.
- Set targets and monitor and report on success. Setting measurable targets can help motivate employees to take action. For example, in establishing "green" targets, divisions within an organization may engage in friendly competition to achieve green goals. Reporting on success can also serve to show employees the progress they've made towards reaching their goals.