5 Ways to Implement a Sustainable and Green Work Culture

5 Ways to Implement a Sustainable and Green Work Culture

You can do more than recycling to be green! Here are some sustainable initiatives your company should implement.

We cannot stress how important sustainability is, and you know it. You’ve read all the reports about how we need to act quickly or risk irreversible damage to our planet’s natural resources. In light of their ecological footprints, companies are implementing new initiatives to help them stay green and environmentally conscious in the workplace and production process. The quality of being sustainable means that you’re committed to reduce your impact to the environment or stop depleting natural resources.

Many tech companies incorporate the popular go-green approach into their business practices. They attempt to discover more creative ways of promoting a green lifestyle by integrating environmental practices throughout their operations. Google, for example, has embedded a sustainability-minded approach. Earlier in 2020, the company announced that they would strive to include recycled materials in all the Made By Google products by 2022. They are also working on using only recyclable, plastic-free packaging by 2025 and aiming for carbon-free energy powering its operations by 2030! While big tech companies are often at the forefront of sustainability initiatives, any company can get started with these strategies. Here’s how:

Implement an AI-powered solution to sort waste

According to Planet Ark, over 94 percent of the waste in a typical office bin is recyclable. To make your workplace more sustainable, consider investing in an AI-powered solution that can help sort your trash. For example, TrashBot, a smart recycling bin by Pittsburgh-based CleanRobotics, uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to sort recyclables from everyday waste. The smart trash is equipped with cameras and sensors that check items as they enter the bin.

Recyclables are sorted from waste by robotic and AI technology incorporated into the Trashbots at the time of disposal with 90% accuracy. The smart bin will help your workplace become greener by reducing waste sent to landfills yearly. So far, the startup has delivered TrashBots to China, Singapore, Australia, India, the Middle East and the United States. 

Go digital

Promoting a paperless office is not only good for the environment, but it can also help to improve workplace sustainability and efficiency. According to a global survey by Internation Data Corporation conducted on workers and IT professionals in 2012, document-related problems account for 21.3 percent of productivity loss. This suggests businesses can improve workplace productivity by reducing reliance on paper documents. 

For instance, Adobe Sign and Adobe Document Cloud are two software solutions to help your business go digital. Adobe Document Cloud is a PDF solution that allows you to manage your digital papers and lets you create, edit, sign, send and track PDF documents wherever you are—across desktop, mobile and the web. With Adobe Sign, you can send, sign, track, and manage signature processes from a browser or mobile device.

Promote energy conservation 

There are many things that businesses can do to save energy and operate more sustainably. One way to do it is to conduct an energy audit to identify areas where savings can be made. For instance, Tata Consultancy Service’s Clever Energy platform combines internet of things (IoT), machine learning, AI, real-time modeling and deep data analytics to monitor and analyze a building’s energy performance data in real-time.

This allows companies to spot their energy consumption patterns. Built on Microsoft Azure IoT Platform and Amazon Web Services Cloud, TCS’s Clever Energy addresses heating and cooling systems, manages emissions and integrates sensors, meters and assets across commercial and office settings, retail outlets, warehouses and manufacturing plants.

Support green manufacturers 

This refers to encouraging employees to procure and use products and services from sustainable vendors. By working with environmentally-conscious vendors which adopt green-standards practices, your business can set a good example for others. Support and work with companies that use or opt for: 

  • bio-plastics or recycled plastics (recycled plastic has already been used in some capacity, which reduces the energy needed to produce them); 
  • recycled carton-based packaging; 
  • sustainable forestry practices; 
  • renewable energy sources; and 
  • green cleaning products.

Take, for example, IKEA, the popular Swedish furniture company known for its sustainable efforts. IKEA has now met the objective of the more sustainable source that was established for 2020, and over 98 percent of the wood utilized in IKEA goods today is FSC-certified or recycled. In addition, the company has stated that one-third of its wood supply will be sourced from recycled wood by 2030.

Reduce waste

The advancing technologies have offered us many ways to reduce your and your company’s ecological footprint, such as the initiatives mentioned above. However, still, one of the most effective methods is to reduce waste from the get-go. 

For example, food waste. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 40 percent of food in the country goes uneaten, and much of this ends up in landfills. One way to combat this is to compost your food waste. Search engine giant Google has taken sustainability a step further by cutting back on waste in their kitchen and café operations. Google cafés make it a point to give away leftovers to local shelters and food banks, as well as compost whenever feasible.

The company also encourages its employees to be mindful of how much food they put on their plates. Apart from that, Google has implemented LeanPath, a tool for assessing food waste in more than 160 cafés throughout 22 nations, to better understand how much food is being wasted. They may modify how they cook and serve meals in cafés after learning about the data.

Sustainability in the workplace is not a one-size-fits-all model, and there is no perfect way to go about it. It depends on the specific organization, what sustainability means to them, and what environmental and social impact they want to make. The important thing is to get started and to keep the conversation going.

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Header image courtesy of Unsplash


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