Involving staff members is essential to the success of any effort to enhance your organization’s environmental performance. Consider convening a staff meeting with NRDC personnel or sending a memo to all staff members informing them of your organization’s environmental goals. Also consider forming an eco-committee of interested staff members to help oversee and implement your organization’s efforts and to provide new ideas and feedback to relevant departments.
How to Form an Eco-Committee
Involving senior management is essential to the success of any organization’s greening effort, but it is not sufficient to only include senior management in environmental decision-making. When attempting to enhance environmental performance, companies should involve employees at all levels of the organization. One of the best ways to promote the participation of employees is to form an eco-committee composed of interested staff. An eco-committee can be a valuable component of your organization’s effort to enhance its environmental performance. It can be a source for new ideas and motivation and can serve as a link between upper management and individual departments.
Since all operations engender some type of environmental impact, and since often the employees in different areas of the organization have the best ideas about how to make environmental improvements in those areas, eco-committees should be made up of staff from all departments at various levels. For example:
- Involving facility operations staff is critical to ensure the maximum use of non-toxic cleaning products.
- Involving front office employees is essential to ensure that procurement policies, office recycling, and paper reduction efforts are carried out.
- The participation of upper management is necessary to ensure that sustainability is a priority throughout the organization.
An eco-committee should meet regularly to discuss progress, goals, and strategies. In addition, it should periodically provide updates to upper management. Feel free to excerpt the sample memo below, and review some of our other ideas for increasing staff involvement.
Sample Memo to Staff
I’m writing to let you know that [our organization] is launching an organization-wide effort to improve our environmental performance and facility operations. As you might know, our day-to-day operations, from energy and water use to the paper we purchase, can have a significant impact on the environment. By carefully focusing on reducing these impacts, we should be able to improve our organization’s efficiency and enhance our brand while helping the environment and our bottom line.
The strategic objectives of our Environmental Initiative will be:
- Conserving, recycling, and purchasing ecologically superior paper
- Energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy
- Promoting recycling and waste reduction
- Efficient water use
- Using less toxic products
- Reducing global warming pollution
- Protecting biodiversity
- Promoting fan and sponsor awareness and education
We’ll begin this effort by creating an Eco-Committee that includes representatives of various departments. The organization will lead a company-wide diagnosis of our current environmental performance and draft an Action Plan, complete with specific recommendations, for consideration by senior management. We will review the plan together, suggest changes or additions, and then begin implementation.
This is an important effort for the organization, not just because it can save us money, but especially because it can benefit the environment for future generations, including sports fans, young players and professional athletes. By reducing our own contribution to environmental problems we can be better corporate citizens.
I believe our environmental initiative will also enhance employee morale and provide community relations benefits. I hope that as we devise and implement our plan we will be able to foster an organization-wide commitment to environmentally intelligent practices of which we can all be proud.
In short, I hope our environmental initiative will benefit our organization on many fronts, and I hope you’ll join in this effort enthusiastically.
Ideas to involve staff
- Distribute branded reusable coffee mugs, water bottles, or shopping bags along with a memo or brochure explaining your organization’s initiative
- Offer a monthly raffle or prizes for participation in your organization’s eco-committee, or for offering suggestions on how to improve environmental performance
- Provide clear and very visible signs at recycling, printing, and food stations to promote compliance with the organization’s eco-practices
- Offer incentives or rewards for using alternate transit methods like biking, public transit, or carpools
- Organize eco-committee social events to build interest and reward members