6 Steps To Make Sure Your Sustainability Initiatives Work

sustainability-initiativesWelcome to the new age workplace, where creating a better world is a must for companies of all sizes.

Corporate social responsibility is a concept that not only improves company image but instills confidence and motivation among your fellow colleagues.

An increasing demand exists for corporations to take an active role in developing sustainability initiatives at the office in order to promote long-term viability of their business, and the environment. A great example is Wal-Mart, which saved $231 million dollars last year alone, from waste reduction and recycling.

Through simple conscious initiatives, such as email signatures reminding your readers to think twice before printing, or even an in-house compost system, you can make all the difference.

This sounds great on paper (pun intended), but many of those green projects survive for only a few week. Which raises one very important question…

How can you make sure that those green initiatives will stick?

So let’s take a minute or two to discuss the 6 crucial steps that will give you that extra push in encouraging the concept of sustainability within your company.

1. Find Fun Ways To Engage Your Colleagues

One of the best things you can do is not be pushy! People want to save the world, but not be forced to do it.

The first step in any strategy is to get people interested and involved. Prove to them that their participation is necessary to the success of your initiative and inherently, the company itself. A sense of accountability sparks involvement and dedication.

Getting people excited is as simple as highlighting the potential success that the initiative may foster. Did you know that after implementing sustainability projects, Wal-Mart saved $231 million dollars last year alone? That’s a pretty good stat to share with your boss and colleagues to get them on board.

2. Empower Your Colleagues

Make sure that everyone involved feels great about what they’re doing!

Once your colleagues jump on board, organize a small committee of “super green” leaders that participate in regular meetings. Sustaining interest is just as important as sparking it.

By coordinating weekly meetings to discuss upcoming initiatives and recent accomplishments, your office will remain engaged and interested. A “Green Action Committee” can also be created to establish quality assurance and progression of the sustainability initiative.


3. You Better Recognize!

Everyone needs a little love for doing good things. That’s why employee reward and recognition is extremely important.

Nurture your colleagues’ interest by rewarding them for their hard work. Who doesn’t like a good ol’ pat on the back or a happy hour in their honor every now and again? Keep a running tally of your co-workers contributions. Monthly winners should be identified and congratulated for their noteworthy role in the initiative’s progress. Award the biggest contributors as “Greenployee of the month” or create an event granting the “Environmentally-Wise Prize”.

Never be disappointed with the results. At the end of the day, everyone’s winning.

4. If It Can Be Measured It Can Be Improved

Perception of worth is necessary to establish continuing participation.

Quarterly online surveys can be completed to ensure that adequate effort is being spent engaging coworkers and promoting the initiative. Inviting employees to complete regular surveys also instills a feeling of importance and contribution to the program.

And just in case employee perception becomes altered, solutions can be quickly created to redirect opinion. You will probably win over a few employees by giving them a 20 minute break on a Friday afternoon to complete a survey!

5. Keep Your Sustainability Efforts Fresh

People can get off track at times, so it’s important to have someone as a leader to maintain employee interest and address all inquiries. A sustainability officer can be appointed to send out regular communications and ensure accurate information is being shared with its members.

Those multi-compartmental recycle bins can be confusing to just about anyone, so having a volunteer willing to answer whether or not the vending machine water bottles are recyclable, becomes an asset in the progression of your sustainability effort.

In other words having a core group of reliable people is critical to implement your initiative.

6. Setting an example

What better way to spark engagement than setting an example? Get the CEO of your company to jump on board and make a statement to your fellow employees. Your colleagues will be more than willing to participate when they know the big boss is in on it too! Setting the stage for sustainability should start at the top.

Incorporating simple and stimulating strategies aimed at developing sustainability initiatives at the office is key to success for both your organization and the environment. You have the ambition and drive to spark something great so why not implement your strategy for sustainability today?

Do you have any sustainability initiatives at your workplace right now?

How were they implemented? What could be done to improve their success?

About the Author Jeff Fermin

Jeffrey Fermin is Officevibe’s cofounder and is in charge of all marketing efforts and business development for the company. Jeff has the pleasure of engaging with the Officevibe community where he talks, tweets and blogs about company culture and employee engagement.

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