Smarter Business: Greening Advisor
Involving staff at all levels
Involving staff members is essential to the success of any effort to enhance your company’s environmental performance. Consider convening a meeting or sending a memo from the CEO to all staff members informing them of your environmental goals. Also consider designating an environmental manager and/or forming an eco-committee of interested staff members to help oversee and implement your company’s plan and to provide new ideas and feedback to relevant departments. Feel free to excerpt the following sample memo, and review some of our other ideas for increasing staff involvement.
Sample Memo to Staff
I’m writing to let you know that we are launching a company-wide effort to improve the environmental performance of our business. As you might know, our day-to-day operations, from energy and water use to the paper we purchase, can impact the environment. By carefully focusing on these impacts, we should be able to reduce them, helping the environment and our bottom line. The strategic objectives of our environmental initiative will be:
- Reducing global warming pollution
- Protecting biodiversity
- Conserving, recycling, and purchasing ecologically superior paper
- Improving energy efficiency
- Increasing use of renewable energy
- Promoting recycling
- Using water efficiently
- Using less-toxic products in the workplace
- Where applicable, making and selling products that reflect the above environmental objectives
We’ll begin this effort by creating an Eco-Committee that includes volunteer representatives of the various departments. The committee will lead a company-wide diagnosis of our current environmental performance and draft an Action Plan, complete with specific recommendations, for consideration by senior management. We will review the plan together, suggest changes or additions, and then begin implementation.
This is an important effort for our company, not just because it can save us money, but especially because it can make an important contribution to reducing pressures on the environment. By reducing our own contribution to environmental problems, we can be better corporate citizens.
I believe our environmental initiative will also enhance employee morale and generate good will in our community as well. I hope that as we devise and implement our plan we will be able to foster a top-to-bottom commitment to environmentally intelligent practices of which we can all be proud.
In short, I believe our environmental initiative will be helpful to us on many fronts, and I hope you’ll join in this effort enthusiastically.
How to Form an Eco-Committee
Involvement of senior management is essential to the success of any company’s greening effort, but it is not sufficient on its own. When attempting to enhance environmental performance, companies should involve employees at all levels of the organization. One of the best ways to promote the participation of employees is to form an eco-committee composed of interested staff. An eco-committee can be a valuable component of your business’s effort to enhance its environmental performance. It can be a source for new ideas and motivation and can serve as a link between upper management and individual departments.
Since all operations engender some type of environmental impact, eco-committees should be made up of staff from all departments at various levels to ensure comprehensive and diverse input. Involving building operations staff is critical to ensure the maximum use of nontoxic cleaning products; involving office employees is essential to ensure that procurement policies, office recycling, and paper reduction efforts are carried out; the participation of upper management is necessary to ensure that sustainability is a priority throughout the organization. An eco-committee should meet regularly to discuss goals, strategies, and progress. In addition, it should periodically provide updates to upper management.
Ideas for Involving Staff
- Ask employees to contribute their own ideas on ways to reduce waste, improve efficiency, and adopt other environmentally positive practices, and include those tips along with other suggestions and strategies in regular staff newsletters.
- Incorporate these eco-practices and accomplishments into your company’s employee training and orientation programs.
- Distribute reusable coffee mugs or reusable shopping bags along with a memo or brochure explaining the company’s initiative.
- Offer a monthly raffle or prizes for participation in your company’s eco-committee, or for offering suggestions on how to improve environmental performance.
- Provide clear and visible signs at recycling, printing, and food stations to promote compliance with the company’s eco-practices.
Distribute reusable coffee mugs or reusable shopping bags along with a memo or brochure explaining your company’s environmental initiative.
Let us know.