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Introducing Sustainability in the Workplace



When speaking to people about sustainability I find there are many who are living rewarding, sustainable lives privately but are reluctant to introduce their sustainable practices in the workplace for fear of becoming known as a ‘Tree Hugger’ or worse, a ‘Green Nazi’ – a term used, in jest I must say, on my daughter while she enthusiastically attempted to introduce environmental practices in her workplace.

If you work in a medium to large organisation and you are not aware of a sustainability plan currently in place, it may be an idea to speak to management about setting up a ‘Green Team’. A ‘Green Team’ is generally an informal group of staff, including management if possible, whose task it is to educate themselves and their colleagues about environmental issues, assess the sustainability of the various practices in the organisation and develop an action plan to help the organisation improve its overall environmental performance. It may be helpful to enlist the help of a Business Sustainability professional in the initial setting up and development phase of the team to ensure its long term success.

Let’s just have a look at some of the simple things that you can tackle in most workplaces that are not costly to implement, in fact can save money, and can help to improve your workplace’s environmental performance considerably.

  • Include Business Sustainability on the agenda for all internal work meetings
  • Introduce a recycling bin system – check out
  • Improving Energy Efficiency – what is left on when no one is in the workplace approximately 110 hours per week?? – Place signs at light switches to remind staff to turn off lights when the space is not in use, etc.
  • Assess the purchasing of all stationery – recommend the most sustainable solution for paper, pens and other stationery requirements – check out for some great ideas
  • Re-ink (Cartridge World) or recycle (Officeworks) all print cartridges
  • Use both sides of the paper wherever possible – can save many reams of paper (trees) per year
  • Introduce a food waste management system in the staff room eg: Bokashi System
  • Switch to re-usable coffee cups and water bottles
  • Encourage management to enlist the services of a Business Sustainability Assessor to provide a comprehensive assessment of the workplace including recommendations

Get the small wins on the board to start with and then, reach for the stars. The planet and your boss, will thank you.

Next edition – Living with high temperatures – simple tips to cool down

Visit me at Ecolateral 411 Magill Road St Morris or visit for more info on sustainability.