How to Become a Green Business – Part 7: Involving Staff and Community
A green business (or sustainable business) is a business that causes no negative impact on the local or global environment, the community, or the economy. Green business is both socially and environmentally responsible and is focused on implementing principles and practices that benefit their employees, community, and the planet. Consumers may be particularly drawn to green business because of their reputation as companies that protect environmental resources, ensure the well-being of both employees and those who supply the company, and constantly revise their approaches to make them more aligned with sustainability and reducing environmental impact. Becoming green as a business is not a one-off change; it’s an ongoing endeavor that requires constant learning and improving.
PART 7: INVOLVING STAFF AND COMMUNITY
1. Encourage use of public transportation
Discuss with your employees how public transportation, driving a hybrid vehicle, or biking or walking to work can make your company greener (and reduce the individual carbon footprint of each employee as well!) The easiest way to go green during commuting is to avoid driving whenever possible. If you have a particularly high percentage of employees who use alternative methods of transportation to commute to and from work, it will help demonstrate your commitment to environmental care.
If public transportation isn’t available in your area, encourage carpooling. You can also incentivize carpooling by creating carpool-only parking spots.
2. Get your staff on board
In order to truly become a green business, you will need to get your staff on board with your green goals. To get your staff on board, you need to make green thinking a part of your company culture. By doing this, you’ll have both a motivated team and some evangelists who will take the greening further than you can do alone. Staff engagement is vital for long-term success and they can help to spread the word to other staff, clients and through networks.Explain to staff what is hoped for by way of continual improvement. Make sure that they all understand the commitment to continual improvement and agree to contribute in any way possible.
Encourage participation in community activities that make the surrounding area a more pleasant place to live (this can include activities such as river clean-ups, establishing a community garden, or planting trees along a stretch of highway) and recognize those employees who choose to participate.
3. Create a committee for greening your business
Choose people already interested in this change along with those who have the power to implement changes. Ideas need to be tested in this environment, so even a few naysayers can be useful as sounding boards. Encourage this committee to meet on a regular basis to track progress and discuss future greening practices.Encourage brainstorming on ways to make your business greener. Incentivize the best ideas with awards or accolades.
Appoint one green evangelist per department or area of your workplace communicate the committee’s ideas, information and decisions and to generally rally support for greening the business.
4. Get feedback from staff about green changes
Listen as avidly to the complaints as the praise. This will help you know what is and isn’t working.
5. Assign specific greening tasks within a set time frame
Set tangible goals that should be reached in a reasonable amount of time in order to stay on track with your green business strategy.
6. Provide a green fund
Consider providing a green fund for specific areas to use when implementing their own departmental solutions. However, be sure that the idea benefits the whole company in a way you consider appropriate.