What can employers do to encourage environmental sustainability and eco-friendly practices in the workplace?
Increasingly, corporate sustainability initiatives are necessary in order to compete for and retain top talent. Employees are seeking out organizations with strong environmental programs making these initiatives an important part of the overall employer brand. Research from Lightspeed found that 90 percent of Millennials consider sustainable practices crucial when choosing an employer.
Involving employees in a “reduce, reuse, recycle” program can increase employee morale while having a positive impact. Employees often come up with innovative ideas for conservation as they are familiar with business processes and have the passion to bring solutions to fruition. Solicit employees as champions to promote sustainability initiatives and allow employees the authority to implement eco-friendly practices at work.
To get started, here are some simple steps to reduce your business’ environmental footprint:
- Start a recycling program. Place recycle bins in lunchrooms and near copiers and printers.
- Use both sides of the paper when printing and making photocopies.
- Purchase recycled paper and other recycled office products.
- Donate unwanted supplies to local schools or nonprofit organizations.
- Provide reusable coffee mugs, water bottles, plates and utensils for employees to use at work instead of disposable products.
- Put your computer in sleep mode instead of using screen savers that still use energy.
- Change to energy-efficient lightbulbs and install motion-activated lights that turn off automatically when a space is not in use.
- Offer incentives to employees who use clean commuting options such as biking, carpooling, or taking public transit.
- Go paperless. Switch to electronic files and use cloud-based collaboration options such as Google Drive.
In addition to internal employee champions, you can tap into external resources to support sustainability initiatives:
- Employers can find energy tax incentives, rebates and other savings through federal, state and local government programs.
- The Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise program encourages organizations and businesses to achieve sustainability in their practices and to reduce select industrial wastes.
- Use Energy Star’s Bring Your Green to Work tools and resources to help motivate and inspire employees to save energy.
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