“What does it mean to Go Green?” is the pretty common question that engages any conversationalist who are keen on environment protection. Well, as a HR the concept of Greening the workplace ignited my interest and so was my exploration on it. I take this platform to share my learning, so am sure you would stay interested and comment your views on glancing the below article.
“Going Green” clearly states the knowledge and practices that can lead to more environment friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles. These decisions can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for present and future generations. A green workplace is the one that is environmentally sensitive, resource-efficient, and socially responsible.
On conversing about going green, the word sustainability is often thrown in relating to different concepts. Sustainability has many definitions but it is most commonly described as “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” according to Wikipedia. You can see how this closely relates to the concept of going green.
Go Green, Stay Eco-friendly
It’s about small steps. The perception that it costs an arm and a leg to “go green” keeps many small nonprofits from even trying. Most believe that going green is for private businesses but it’s actually all about saving money and resources. These green-related savings do not necessarily take years to kick in either. Sure, many eco-friendly improvements do require some initial capital. But they also can yield significant cost savings in the long run.
Not about transforming your workplace overnight!
“The recycling of toner cartridges reduces the rate at which this supply’s price increases, and the auto-shutoff on the monitors reduces electricity bills.” Safeguard employee health and improve attendance and productivity.
Where to Start?
An environmental policy provides a unifying set of principles that guides the actions of the employees and management. This is not unlike your mission statement, whereby providing the overall operating goals that are considered in the organizations decision-making process as well as its daily activities. Keep this policy simple, straightforward and doable. Don’t overpromise to make a global impact or big splash.
Best Practices for Greening the Workplace
- Reuse and Recycle as much as possible.
- Provide plenty of well-marked, conveniently located recycling bins or paper, plastics, aluminum and glass.
- Shred unrecyclable paper and use for packaging material.
- Have reusable mugs, plates and silverware on hand for employees instead of disposables.
- Use refillable pens and pencils.
- Recycle in and toner cartridges.
- Save Power, Save Energy – Turn off computers, monitors and printers when leaving for the day and hibernate when out of desk.
- Use Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) instead of Incandescent light bulbs. According to www.energystar.gov CFLs cost about 75% less to operate and last about 10 times longer.
- Install occupancy sensors, or manually turn off lights and other equipment when rooms and offices are not in use
- Keep room temperatures at 68 degrees in the winter and 55 degrees at night.
- Purchase energy efficient appliances for the office.
- Reduce Emissions and Toxins.
If it makes sense, let your employees telecommute rather than waste fuel driving to and from work. This also allows your organization to minimize the amount of office space that is needed, cutting down your overhead costs. Instant messaging, video conferencing, and other innovative workflow tools make effective telecommuting a reality.
Promote walking, cycling, carpooling and public transit. American workers spend an average of 47 hours per year commuting through rush hour traffic. This adds up to 3.7 billion hours and 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year. We can ease some of this strain by carpooling, taking public transit, biking, walking, or a creative combination thereof. Set up a bulletin board where employees can arrange carpools and check bus and train schedules.
A natural Air Purifier – Fill the workplace with potted green plants, which emit oxygen and absorb pollutants. Keep work areas clean using non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning supplies. A greener workplace can mean a lighter ecological footprint, a healthier and more productive place to work, and good news for the bottom line.
Small actions can create big change, especially when it comes to the environment. Coloring your company green will inspire your employees, your donors and those that you service. Why not start today?