Get out of the red, go green this earth day!

18 April 2011

London, 18 April 2011 - Earth Day is upon us, and synchronised initiatives across the globe will remind businesses that they are all sharing the same planet.  Managers and their employees should take the opportunity on April 22nd to think about the environmental challenges their office faces and devise strategies on how to resolve them.

Companies are increasingly becoming aware that the rise of environmental consciousness amongst their employees, coupled with pressure from multiple stakeholders to commit to corporate social responsibility initiatives, means that in order to stay both socially and economically competitive they need to jump on the green bandwagon.

“Providing a green work environment can serve as a powerful recruitment and retention tool”, said Phil Booth, director of OfficeTeam UK. “With more and more people becoming environmentally conscious, many job seekers want to work for companies whose values mirror their own.”

Booth continues, “Going green can also have a significant advantage on the bottom line; many simple practices such as reducing printing and monitoring the use of electricity within the office can increase your environmental footprint while also reducing costs. In short, climate change can be extremely rewarding for your people, profit and planet.”

OfficeTeam has identified 10 tips for creating a more sustainable office environment:

  1. Reduce paper consumption
    Encourage your employees to use both sides of paper wherever possible and to only print documents when necessary. Instead of having printouts for meetings, have one person taking notes and then send to the office via email. Additionally, most word processing programmes have a “mark-up” function that works like a virtual red pen eliminating the need to print hard copies for edits.
  2. Introduce fair trade or organic coffee
    Production methods for fair trade and organic coffee are more sustainable than standard coffee production. By increasing your coffee budget by a few pounds your employees will be taking small steps to help the environment whilst taking a coffee break.
  3. Remove paper plates and plastic utensils
    Investing in non-disposable kitchen supplies not only reduces waste, it will also save money in the long run. Styrofoam and plastic are non-biodegradable and using such disposables will definitely create more waste within the office.
  4. Monitor monitors
    When not in use, encourage your staff to set computers to “go to sleep” instead of going to a screensaver.
  5. Reuse, reduce and recycle
    Beyond paper consumption, think of other office items that can be disposed of using the 3 Rs. For example ink cartridges, boxes, electronic devices and food packaging.
  6. Reduce electricity
    If your office doesn’t have timers to shut off the lights, make sure the last person in the office turns them off before leaving for the day - the same thing goes for computers.
  7. Ground your employees
    Consider reducing air travel by using video conference services. This saves carbon emissions as well as money. If employees are able to work from home, allowing them to work remotely will also save them from having to commute to work.
  8. Change lighting fixtures
    By replacing old incandescent lights with compact fluorescents, your office will save up to three times the amount of energy, plus the electricity bills will be reduced.
  9. Greening the commute
    Encourage staff to cycle, walk or get the bus to work by offering incentives such as free parking passes or cycle to work schemes.
  10. Making it fun
    Host a friendly inter-company competition on who can be the most environmentally friendly. The winner could win an extra day of annual leave in the summer!