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Going Green, Making the Philosophical Choice Work at Work

Posted Sep 17 2012 11:15am

‘Go green,’ as a business owner it would be difficult to have missed the phrase which has spurred millions to change brands, recycle, and otherwise rethink their business practices. Hearing the phrase, however, isn’t enough. What one chooses to do after hearing the phrase entails whether one decides ‘going green’ is for them a trend or a philosophy.

Trend or Philosophy

Trends by their nature are self-limiting, having no more real impact on a business than the decision to choose a popular color scheme with which to decorate the lobby. Philosophies stamp every aspect of a business.

Going Green, The Philosophy

Choosing to ‘go green’ in an office environment means every detail of that business is henceforth filtered through its green philosophy. Purchases are made with an understanding of their energy requirements. Utilities and supplies are used in a waste-conscious manner . Goals are created to track how green the office is becoming.

For example, by taking into account how much of an item is routinely used, it is possible to place an achievable bar, a percentage every worker can attempt to cut his or her use by. In this way going green becomes a team effort. And, while the resulting esprit de corps is a good thing in and of itself, the business also wins economically, by saving significant money and gaining ‘good guy’ status as a corporate entity that cares about the planet. Good guy status translates into further sales, as like-minded clients are attracted to the business’s new greener image. Moreover, the high-minded profile of a verifiable green company makes great advertising copy.

Going Green Means Everyone

For a ‘going green’ philosophy to work at work everyone from the janitor to the CEO must be on board. Back office support , head office support, and support from everyone in between must be a given. New employees should be apprised of the company’s green stance before they get on board. Everyone within the business should be aware of the company’s green goals, whether through meetings, or Eco-friendly memorandums.

It should be clear to everyone in the company that last month a specific number was met, as in so much of a particular product was used. The expected number for next month should also be clearly cited, as well as directives for meeting the number, and how much meeting the number can save the company. Workers should be encouraged to offer each other tips. Incentives for meeting goals is also a plus.

Going Green Means Auditing

Every office makes use of supplies of the sort that must be routinely replaced. Going green means becoming intimately aware of what items are getting routinely replaced, how often and how many. This means knowing how much of even the smallest product, such as tape, or staples, are ordered. It can mean tracking their use to verify what is usual and unusual. It can mean deciding if usage figures reflect carelessness or a poor product and acting accordingly.

Going Green Means Electrical Awareness

Having lights on constantly wastes electricity. Rather than assuming staff will turn off restroom lights, for example, opt for sensors. Opt for energy-saving LED lights , where possible. Eco-friendly, as they possess neither mercury or lead, LED lights are also energy-conservative and generate less heat, making them economical too.

Encourage staff to power down computers when going home. Fully charged items should be unplugged. Another energy and waste saver, cloud computing safeguards vast amounts of necessary data at a price that’s viable for most businesses. New electrical purchases should be made with an awareness of whether they meet the latest energy-saving criterion.

Going Green Means Saving Trees

Recycled paper saves money and trees. Make sure staff education encompasses a directive to save paper. Rather than printing another sheet, other options might be using the double-sided print option, or using e-mail. For meetings and presentations, consider alternate ways to keep everyone on the same page other than literally handing out the ‘same page’ to everyone.

Going Green Means Inspiring

Making an office-wide pact to get a business green and keep it there means committing to a green image and allowing everyone to see it. To that end, quotes can be used both to inspire staff to and let visitors know of the company’s green views. With the green flag thus prominently displayed it becomes everyone’s business to ensure it’s lived up to.

“Only after the last tree has been cut down…the last river has been
poisoned…the last fish caught, only then will you find that money cannot be
eaten.”
- Cree Indian Prophecy

“If there is to be an ecologically sound society, it will have to come the grass
roots up, not from the top down.”
- Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce

“The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives.”
- Native American Proverb

In the end, committing to a green philosophy at work requires education, awareness and clear directives. Yet, by doing so businesses save money. They bolster their business image, while most importantly, significantly impacting the planet.

Image Credit: Stuck in Customs  via Creative Commons


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