I’m an environmentalist. I’ve even hugged a few trees, but I don’t claim that they’ve talked back to me. I’ve also sat on environmental non-profit boards and ran a non-profit environmental agency. That was the three-year environmental phase of my career. Then I had to start making money again. But during this period I learned that companies can have a significant impact on the environment — and that HR and a volunteer team can spearhead this effort. Here are some basic guidelines that you can consider:
- Consider telecommuting – Do employees really have to spend the time, energy, and money to drive to work every day or can they be more effective working from home or from remote offices?
- Go paperless – I’m impressed by how many insurance agencies I work with have gone paperless.
- Encourage carpooling and public transportation – You might even help pay for some of the gas.
- Recycle – Paper, glass, and plastic should all be recycled. Take one good look at a local shoreline and you’ll understand why.
- Beware of indoor air pollution – For many people, the building they work in has more air pollution than any other environment. Indoor air inspections can help prevent sick days and attendant non-productivity.
- Turn off the lights and computers – I’m amazed at how many building keep the lights on at night, and you know the cleaning crew isn’t there any longer. Turn off your lights and turn off your computers.
- Think in terms of sustainability – Although this is a broader objective, focus on how you can manufacture things or deliver services in a way that produces less of an environmental impact. For example, I can do a webinar rather than flying across the country to speak.
- Finally, encourage employees to offer green suggestions – Perhaps it’s a rooftop garden, organic lunches, or supporting a local environmental cause.
Going green is important to all of us. Our current ways are unsustainable. Fact is, HR can make a green difference.