by Giselle Weybrecht, Author of The Sustainable MBA: The Manager’s Guide to Green Business. Visit her blog and website. TheSustainableMBA.com. Connect with her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @gweybrecht
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 job. This is one reason why I wrote the book, “The Sustainable MBA: The Manager’s Guide to Green Business” — to give individual employees the tools to bring sustainability into their workplace and to change business from the inside out.
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 effect both the companies we work for, and the planet.
The good news: The possibilities are endless! Many of the first steps will be straightforward. Others will require a little innovative thinking. To get you started, here are eight ways you can begin getting involved in sustainability and doing your part at work.
1. Get involved in office greening program: Participate in activities that are already happening in your office such as recycling, alternative commuting or employee engagement programs. If these don’t exist, start one.
2. Look at your company’s position on sustainability: Does your company have a sustainability strategy? Does it produce a sustainability report? If it does, take a look at it and see how this relates to your work. If it doesn’t have a strategy, again, why not work to create one?
3. 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.
4. Create a coalition: Speak to people in the company to connect with others who are interested or are already working in sustainability. Talk to people outside the company to learn about how they are working on sustainability within their own companies.
5. Support others in their activities: Be supportive of the work that your employees or your colleagues are doing in this area. Give members of your team time to explore sustainability in the workplace or in the community. Volunteer your own time and expertise on sustainability initiatives happening in and outside the company.
6. Share your experiences: Write articles, speak at events and share your experiences in working on sustainability issues in the workplace, the challenges you have faced and how/if you overcame them. Speak up about the areas you think need more work.
7. Be positive, but constructively critical: Rather than saying something won’t work, look at contributing to the discussion and working through ideas to find a solution. Remember, sustainability solutions need to make business sense so make sure you focus on the business case.
8. 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.
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 on the issues.
© 2010 – 2011, Giselle Weybrecht. All rights reserved. Do not republish.