I firmly believe that being conscious and ethical is not just the hottest trend in fashion right now, it is also non-negotiable in the workplace. As companies get more engaged in the sustainability arena there are more and more opportunities to work from the inside out. Increasingly sustainability will become part of everyone's job so it is important to be up to date and aware of the issues.
Sustainable, or eco-friendly, is no new concept. It refers to a lifestyle that does not put undue strain on the environment right from the harvesting of raw materials to end users. The idea may sound rather simple, but yet there is still so much more each of us can do.
Even if you don't have a job title that has the word green or sustainable in it, there are countless ways to bring sustainability into your workplace.
We often don't realize the positive impact that we can have through the decisions we make every day as employees and as consumers, decisions that affect both the companies we work for and the planet.
As the founder of a sustainable fashion brand, I am constantly looking to educate and inspire those around me to be more green. The good news is that the possibilities are endless. To get you started on the path to a more conscious way of life at work, here are five top tips:
- Get involved in office greening program: Not all companies have a sustainability strategy and yet there are still many small ways to make an impact. For example participate in activities that are already happening in your offices such as recycling, no printing, alternative or joint commuting or employee engagement programs. If these don't exist, now is your moment to start one.
- Take a look at your own job: Explore ways to incorporate sustainability into what is already in your job description and the goals of your team. Are there places you could cut waste? Engage your suppliers? Change the way something is designed? You know your job best so you are ideally placed to see how and where changes can be made.
- Establish a green team for your company: A green team will give employees an opportunity to contribute to the development and implementation of your sustainability initiatives.
- Solution finding: Remember, sustainability solutions need to make business sense to make sure you focus on the business case. Some easy changes that can be made include:
- LED bulbs enable sleep mode and power saver features on computers and other equipment. This will reduce the power consumption when these items are not in use.
- Replace all disposable products in the staff kitchen, including plates, cups, and utensils, and use reusable items instead.
- Replace paper towels with hand towels in the company restrooms.
- Set printers to print on both sides of the paper as a default. You’ll automatically cut your paper costs by 50%, so you’ll save money as well as resources (and, when necessary, people can always switch to single-sided printing for jobs that require it).
- Right-sizing your waste bins can help reduce costs by ensuring that you’re not paying too much for your bins.
- Stay informed: Look at professional or other organizations to which you already belong to see what they are doing in this area. Pretty much every profession and industry is now getting involved in the sustainability discussion and will have tools and information relevant to the work you do.