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Five New Year’s Resolutions for a Green Team

The New Year has finally arrived. This is the perfect time to reinvigorate and reignite workplace green teams to think big and set sustainability sights high — all in an effort to create real environmental change in the office.

To get you started, here are five New Year’s resolutions for your green team, inspired by the successes of WWF-Canada’s Living Planet @ Work Champions from 2015.

Learn more about Living Planet @ Work, or become a champion by visiting atwork.wwf.ca. WWF’s Living Planet @ Work empowers environmentally minded employees to lead sustainable change at work. As a part of the program, more than 1,100 champions from 900+ companies are taking action for the good of business and the planet.

1. Reduce workplace waste

OLG Casino Thunder Bay has significantly expanded their recycling stream, helping employees and the company reduce its waste impact. © OLG Casino Thunder Bay

OLG Casino Thunder Bay has significantly expanded their recycling stream, helping employees and the company reduce its waste impact. © OLG Casino Thunder Bay

Increase opportunities for recycling, as the OLG Casino Thunder Bay has done. They expanded their recycling stream to include 28 different products, among them laptops, batteries and light bulbs, to name a few. Employees were even encouraged to bring items from home. Simple recycling programs such as these are easy to launch and make the environment an employee engagement opportunity.

2. Implement an energy saving initiative

Simple initiatives like changing lighting schedules in the office can help save money and energy. This is what Brookfield GIS did at its head office in Markham. Through collaborations with the facilities management and energy sustainability teams, lighting schedules were developed to match work hours — reducing the building’s energy consumption and saving on lighting costs.

3. Host an environmental employee competition

CSL’s Active April month winners with CEO Allister Paterson at the 2015 CN Tower Climb. © WWF-Canada

CSL’s Active April month winners with CEO Allister Paterson at the 2015 CN Tower Climb. © WWF-Canada

Friendly competition helps educate employees on sustainability and inspire workplace giving for the environment. At Canada Steamship Lines (CSL), employees were encouraged to walk, run or bike to and from work for a month as part of its Active April campaign. The two most active employees earned a trip to Toronto to climb the CN Tower’s 1,776 steps as part of WWF’s CN Tower Climb for Nature. CSL also donated $3 to WWF for every kilometre walked, biked or ran, $2 for each 50 metres swam and $1 for every flight of stairs ascended, for a total of more than $8,500.

4. Think green when spending money

Purchasing with the environment in mind is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your company’s environmental impact, and it can start with an action as simple as switching your office paper. For example, global professional services firm Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) changed its paper stock standard in Canada to an FSC and EcoLogo certified product containing 30% recycled content. Although the recycled paper was marginally more expensive than the paper stock previously purchased, MMC was able to partner with the supplier to achieve cost savings in other areas. The end result was cost neutral: a win-win for both the business and the planet.

5. Get your colleagues to travel smart

Through the Travel Smart Challenge, Accenture employees found ways to reduce their travel impact by using alternative methods of transportation to work, like biking. © Accenture Inc.

Through the Travel Smart Challenge, Accenture employees found ways to reduce their travel impact by using alternative methods of transportation to work, like biking.
© Accenture Inc.

Challenge employees to do their part for the environment by using alternative methods of transportation. Accenture did this with their global Travel Smart Challenge. By encouraging employees around the world to find creative ways to minimize their personal and business travel, such as biking to work and using collaborative technology, this initiative inspired employees to avoid 2,480 flights and 821,263 road kilometres for a total carbon impact of 911 tons avoided.

These are just a few of the innovative solutions our Living Planet @ Work Champions have introduced to reduce their impact on the environment. We challenge you to integrate sustainable practices to your workplace and help make 2016 that much greener.