By Curtis Cook, Intent
Forget blue collars and white collars. Workers of the world are going green. Small businesses and multinationals alike are reaping the financial and corporate benefits of environmental accountability. And, while corporate social responsibility policies grab the headlines, it is the individual actions of employees and employers that make the difference.
Here are some ways you can green your work environment:
1. If you are self-employed and work form home, simply extend your household efforts to recycle, save energy and reduce consumption to your home office.
• Plug all your office equipment into a power bar and turn it off at the end of the day.
• Switch to energy efficient lighting and try to use electronic communications as much as your business relationships allow.
• Don’t forget to congratulate yourself on your entrepreneurial spirit and your reduced environmental footprint. By not driving to work and occupying additional office space, you are off to a great, green start.
2. Office workers can also green the business world by implementing some of the energy efficiency ideas above.
• Carpooling and public transit not only cut vehicle emissions, they reduce traffic congestion and give you a break from behind the wheel.
• “Brown-bagging” it (and re-using the bag) for lunch reduces the amount of food wrappers, plastic cutlery and drink containers in the office. There are many great re-usable, recyclable food containers on the market, as well as stainless steel containers for hot and cold drinks.
• And don’t forget to bring your own coffee cup – it’s an opportunity to reveal your personal style.
3. Employers can be green leaders in the work world. The size of your business does not matter. Small businesses are the foundation of national economies and if everyone made a commitment to a greener operation, the cumulative effect would be staggering.
• Install low-flow toilets in the washrooms when the time comes to renovate.
• Subsidize bus passes for employees.
• Install secure bicycle racks.
• Consider motion activated lighting for Board rooms and offices.
4. Businesses and organizations can also encourage their customers and clients to think green at work. One of my former employers relied on meetings, conferences and seminars to deliver its services. On every e-mail sent, the following message was clearly visible: “Green your attendance at this event! Offset your contribution to greenhouse gases when you register. Your $15 will support reforestation or renewable energy projects that help offset the greenhouse gases generated by your travel.”
A green work environment does not increase your workload. It does increase workplace satisfaction and an employee’s sense of worth beyond the bottom line. More than ever, green is the color of business.
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Curtis Cook is the Executive Director of the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, President of Ecotactix and Founder of the Executive Centre for the Ecology Economy. He is a two-time book author and has written over 100 published articles on the environment, clean technologies, innovation and sustainable business.
Intent.com provides content and community for who you aspire to be–personally, socially and globally.