The 2022 theme for Earth Day, “Invest in our planet”, focuses on the everyday green actions individuals and organizations can take to do their part. Taking into account the considerable amount of our lives that are spent at the office, investing in green initiatives at your organization ensures that your company is doing its part to save the planet.
Benefits of taking part in sustainable initiatives
Furthermore, “going green” can also do wonders for your employer brand. Taking the time to invest in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiatives at your company can help create a sustainable employer brand. This can help to attract and retain talent - as research shows that 51% of employees don’t want to work for a company that doesn't have strong social or environmental commitments (Cone Communications).
In this article, we’ll cover 10 steps your company can take to invest in our planet this Earth Day, and every day of the year.
10 easy steps to invest in our planet
1. Create paper usage guidelines
According to one report, 12.1 trillion sheets of paper are used per year by U.S. companies. Some of this paper usage can be eliminated by using alternatives. There are a lot of different ways that you can cut down on your paper use:
- Embrace digital paper alternatives when possible (Take notes on your computer, fillable PDFs, Google Docs, e-signatures on documents, etc.)
- Create guidelines on what is and isn’t allowed to be printed
- Adopt the “Think before you print” mentality
- Have fewer printers in the office
2. Give your employees reusable water bottles!
This can accomplish two goals at once: reducing plastic waste and figuring out what company swag to gift your employees!
The article “Money in a bottle” estimates that Americans buy, on average, 167 disposable water bottles per year, costing them up to $266 each year!
Encouraging your employees to use reusable water bottles will help them to cut down on plastic waste in and out of the office, and save money too!
3. Reduce food waste at the office and at home
Approximately 30-40% of our food supply is wasted in the US alone. Cutting down on food waste is one easy way to take action. You can try the following tactics:
- Set up a composting program in your office. As a bonus, you can use this to help fertilize plants around your office.
- Donate extra food to food shelters
- Do you offer free lunch to your employees? Get a good headcount of how many people will be in the office each week to make sure you don’t order too much food.
These efforts are not just limited to the office. Why not let employees use a bit of their home office budget to buy a small bin for compost?
4. Allow flexibility in your office work location
In theory - letting your employees work from home means less of a carbon footprint for your employees and for your office. To put this into practice, you need to work on making sure your employees are also being eco-conscious in their home office as well.
5. Calculate your impact
Education is a great way to outline the why behind your green initiatives. By calculating your impact, you can help raise awareness. Show your employees that sustainability is more than just a buzzword. Here are a few cool calculators you can try:
6. Donate to green initiatives
If environmental initiatives become a part of your employer brand, it might be a good idea to put your money where your mouth is. This could be picking a few causes that are near and dear to your organization and/or supporting/matching employee donations!
7. Take action together - volunteer
Volunteering is a down-to-earth way to get involved in sustainable initiatives. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Adopt a part of the road/organize regular roadside cleanups with your team
- Plant some trees - there are lots of programs for this idea!
- Join a Cleanup
- Get involved with Greenpeace
- Look for other local initiatives!
8. Explore the great outdoors
Remind your employees of the real reason for your “going green” activities:
- For smaller teams: organize a group hike! Did someone say team bonding?
- For bigger companies - give everyone a half-day off to spend some time outside
- Combine the volunteering idea: go for a group walk and pick up waste on your walk!
9. Create a Green team
Let your employees share their voices on how your company can adopt green practices. Forming a “Green team” is one way to get everyone involved. Together you can assess and audit the areas of improvement at your company, and make an action plan to tackle them!
For example, Recruitee has just launched its very own “Green Team”! This group is dedicated to evaluating and improving our environmental impact.
The main goals are to:
- raise awareness,
- and engage Recruitee’s employees to rethink their own behaviours around sustainability!
“With this, the Recruitee Green Team will ultimately make a collective contribution to a greener workplace, a greener company, and a cleaner planet overall!” - Lotte Kalauch and Xander Wegscheider | Recruitee Green Team Founders
10. Start a plant-based challenge like “Meatless Mondays”
Shrinking your “foodprint” is one way your employees can fight climate change. It’s important to keep in mind that factors like cost, accessibility, health, and culture can play a part in employee interest in such challenges. But, if you are excited about trying this idea at your company here’s an example of what you could do:
- Kick-off a “Meatless Monday” challenge
- Share a recipe each Monday that employees can easily make whether they are at home or going to the office
- You could even make this a fun contest - everyone has to take a picture of their best attempt at the recipe!
- Encourage recipe swapping between employees
- Provide free meatless lunches every Monday at the office/vouchers for at home
- Additional swag idea/contest prize for Meatless Monday contests: Give reusable grocery bags to your employees
By implementing these green initiatives at your company, you can do your part to “Invest in our planet”, with the added bonus of creating a more sustainable employer brand.
If we all do our part, our planet will be one step closer to a brighter and greener tomorrow. If you’re still looking for ideas - check out this list of 52 ways to invest in our planet.
Remember - although Earth Day is a great day to kickstart your efforts - green initiatives can be carried out throughout the year!