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5 Easy Steps To Become Sustainable At The Workplace

Sustainable behaviors and practices for business people

5 Easy Steps To Become Sustainable At The Workplace

Trevor No Comment

Our planet is under great pressure. With populations and corporations growing at irresponsible rates, it is no surprise that we’ve reached the point of  increased global warming, ocean acidification, extreme poverty and mass deforestation.

Saving the planet, though, cannot be seen as only as a “big player” issue. Sustainability concerns all of us and it starts with ourselves at home and the workplace.

So, if you ever thought about becoming more sustainable but had trouble getting started, here are some tips to help you make that first step and sustain it in the long-run:

  1. Go paperless

Unless you really need to keep a print copy of your documents, digitalizing them can reduce your company’s costs and carbon footprint exponentially.

According to an article from TIME Magazine, our deforestation rate has gone up to 15B trees annually, with the paper industry using 4B or almost 35% of those trees.

Looking at it more closely, choosing to digitalize 1 ton of paper could save up to 17 trees, 60,000 gallons of water and 225 Kilowatt hours.  Plus, it will save you all the money you would have spent buying 1 ton of paper.

Want more information on the topic? here’s a video from ICM explaining why everyone should go paperless:

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Adopting this mantra as a part of your culture could save your company a lot of money and the planet a lot of life.

Let’s start with “Reduce”. When you use less of something you immediately save up money, cut your waste rates and decrease pollution.  Businesses can reduce their resource consumption by buying in bulk (which saves all the packaging costs and waste),  outsourcing some operations and choosing to adopt planet-friendly technologies.

“Reusing” is the next big step and your business can excel at it by repairing what you already own, buying second-hand and replacing disposable items with reusable or rechargeable ones.

And finally, “Recycling”. What you can’t save or reuse then you should recycle. Label bins accordingly to help your personnel sort out the waste properly and then give it to companies that can transform your trash into new products and new jobs!

The HappyDancingTurltle.org explains this concept a bit better in the following video:

  1. Adopt Eco-Friendly Technology And Practices

Another way to ensure that your company is working hand-in-hand with the planet is by behaving sustainably everyday.

Here are some ideas to start:

  1. Change your traditional trash bins for color-coded recycling bins.
  2. Encourage your employees to save and reuse resources as much as possible.
  3. Replace traditional toilets and faucets for water-efficient models.
  4. Replace paper towels with energy-efficient dryers.
  5. Choose natural air over AC.
  6. Employ motion-sensor lights.
  7. Install timers and control systems for electronics and machinery.
  8. Digitalize your accounting and your marketing.
  9. Promote the use of public transportation to reduce carbon emissions from fuel burning.
  10. Adopt a benefits program that praises sustainable behaviors.
  11. Make sustainability an important part of your company values.
  12. Choose the eco-friendly option for products like paint, ink and air-fresheners.
  13. Schedule regular maintenance for your electric equipment.

Click the link to read this amazing success story presented by Quora, where workers in Japan reduced 1.85 Million tons of greenhouse emissions by reducing their AC consumption during summer months.

  1. Build a sustainable supply chain

If you are serious about making your company planet-friendly, then you must restructure your your supply chain to meet sustainable standards.

Make sure your providers treat the earth and its people according to your values and those of your clients.

Continue to review your production processes, your company culture and your employees’ work habits. Do all these consider the planet as a key stakeholder? Do you seek to reduce resource usage, reuse as much as possible and manage waste properly?

In every step of production from getting a quote to closing a sale you must seek to cut negative environmental impact and work towards a cleaner footprint.

Here is an incredible example from Campbell’s Soup supply chain plan presented by the Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire:

Campbell's Soup Sustainable Supply Chain, recovered from: www.csrwire.com

Campbell’s Soup Sustainable Supply Chain, recovered from: www.csrwire.com

  1. Benchmark and keep learning

Finally, It is never a bad idea to look for inspiration. If someone in your industry is adopting sustainable practices that work then mimic them!

Do some research on creative ways to become more sustainable and don’t be afraid to try them out. Get your employees involved, take field trips to visit sustainable facilities or have someone you admire in this area give a lecture at your workplace.

The more you learn the better you’ll get at it! And remember:

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it” – Robert Swan.


If you found this post useful, please let us know in the comments!

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