At a time when a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Sweden is challenging global leaders at the United Nations, and winning plaudits for doing so, it’s clear that Climate Change has become one of the most critical issues globally. By introducing a few simple eco-friendly workplace initiatives, your company can become part of the global Climate Change revolution and actually make a difference.
Of course, it’s important too to understand why taking active steps at work is worthwhile now. After all, ‘going green’ and ‘the eco-friendly workplace’ are well-worn buzz-terms. But the media coverage of teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg, the growth of her one-girl school strike into a world-wide protest, and her fearless address to the UN, has highlighted an urgency that the world is feeling.
And this urgency is very real to everyday employees everywhere, regardless of whether they are engaged in volunteer and community activities, are recycling enthusiasts or simply parents wondering about the future of their children. And several reports confirm the growing interest everyone is taking.
According to a recent Gallup Poll, some 67% of Americans aged between 18 and 29 described themselves as ‘Concerned Believers’ in Global Warming, as do 49% aged between 30 and 49. Between them, the two categories includes, Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X, representing the widest possible demographic spread within the workforce.
Another report from Gallup describes Millennials as an ‘exceptionally purpose-driven generation’ who expect business leaders and executives or managers to live up to this new generation’s high standards in the workplace as well as in society.
In fact, concerns about the environment have grown so much in recent years that it is now at its highest margin since the beginning of the century. Some 65% now choose the environment over the economy (30%), an increase of 8% from a year ago.
So, developing workplace initiatives to contribute to the fight against climate change is a move that will be greeted warmly by employees.
4 Eco-Friendly Workplace Initiatives That Can Make A Difference
- Offer Volunteer Leave
Encourage employees to get involved in local environmental initiatives by offering days off to do so. You already offer sick leave and maternity leave, just two of several recognised employee leave entitlements widely available. By offering a Volunteer Leave to employees, your company will show it recognises the significance of the fight against Climate Change, but specifically the importance it has to your own employees personally. It’s not exactly a new thing, by the take up by companies has been slow. According to a survey by Perkbox, some 63% of UK employees get no time off to volunteer for causes, while 16% receive only one day off to volunteer, and just 12% receive more than one day.
- Cut Printing To A Minimum
It has been referred to over and over again, but one of the most effective ways your office can help the environment is to cut printing down to an absolute minimum. And when statistics reckon that the average worker in the UK consumes an almost 4.5 trees per year, it’s not hard to understand why. In an age of digital document sharing and Cloud storage, it’s hard to justify so much paper-use, but when it is necessary, the FSC Chain of Custody Certification guarantees your paper originated from a sustainably managed forest.
- The Eco-Friendly Printer
It’s not just about paper though, with the waste created from used ink cartridges also a concern. Ink cartridges contain ‘butyl urea’, a toxic chemical which makes them harder to recycle, and according to Energy Central, an average of 11 ink cartridges per second and 1 million cartridges per day are thrown away. The answer? Switch to an eco-friendly printer that uses vegetable-based ink.
- Power Saving
So simple, but so effective. Your financial department will confirm the amount of electricity your office uses every 24 hours can be shocking. But it is the carbon impact it causes that is the real issue. Basically, use less power to reduce natural resources consumption and lower the CO2 it releases. How exactly?
- Turn off computers when leaving; don’t leave them on sleep
- Turn off lights in unused rooms
- Turn off fans when they’re not needed
- Unplug electrical items not in use
- Use eco-friendly low consumption light bulbs
True, some people forget, but automatic timers can be attached as well as light detectors and motion sensors can help in that regard. Computers can even be rigged to use less electricity.