How to Promote Sustainability in the Workplace

by Yvonne Harris

Promoting and encouraging sustainable behavior in the workplace can seem like an impossible task at times. Not knowing where to start and what to focus on can be confusing. We have compiled six initiatives that you can introduce into your workplace to turn into a CSR-loving environment. We’ll also show you how to easily promote these actions in your workplace.

6 environmental sustainability actions in the workplace

Introduce Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives

Break down your organization’s goals and allow employees to contribute their opinions and feedback. This will provide an opportunity to feel empowered and buy into the initiatives more personally. Start a sustainability committee that works on environmental projects as a team. Introducing a ‘Green Employee’ award that can be awarded every month or quarter. These actions will create a culture of sustainability will trickle into every department.

Go Digital

Gone are the days of needing to print every document. The digital age has allowed us to divert a large sum of paper from ending up in the bin. Support your team to reduce their paper consumption by providing portable digital devices such as tablets and laptops to take to meetings with them. An intranet allows for online collaboration and for sharing news without printing. Gone are the days of cluttered notice boards full of unread notices.

Creating a designated sustainability corner on the intranet allows teams to communicate CSR effectively and efficiently.

Utilize Renewable Energy

Workplaces often consume a substantial amount of energy. Transitioning away from fossil fuel can be as easy as purchasing your power from a green energy provider. Installing solar panels on top of your workplace is a way to cement your commitment to renewable energy.

Showcasing the power received from the solar panels is a great way to remind and inform both employees and customers of the positive impacts the sustainable work environment is having.

CTA - Sustainability corner (2)

Encourage Lift Sharing

If your teams need to travel to work, encourage a green and more eco-friendly way to travel. Depending on your location, public transport may be the best alternative. However, often employees drive to work by themselves. This contributes to carbon emissions and can be expensive with rising fuel costs. Introduce a streamlined way for employees to carpool together through Powell Softwares carpooling tool. Encouraging carpooling is a great step towards the creation of a sustainable workplace, especially in a hybrid team where employees might live far from the office.

However, carpooling has greater benefits:

  • Connects people socially and fosters friendly relations between coworkers.
  • Decreases carbon dioxide emissions and increases energy efficiency.
  • Since rides are shared, there are fewer cars on the road. This leads to reduced pollution and less congestion.

Through the intranet carpooling tool, drivers can create rides detailing the departure/destination and time/date. Passengers can find existing rides and register with the driver. Any questions can be asked in the comments section. With ready-to-use templates, organizing carpooling has never been easier.

Carpooling template

Remove Disposable or Single-Use Products

Through the removal of single-use products, your workplace will encourage employees to invest in reusable alternatives. Why not give out branded reusable products to assist with this transition? This could include portable cutlery kits, reusable takeaway coffee mugs, and straws. Ask your employees what items they need to achieve this goal. It is recommended to slowly transition to reusable items so that the employees have time to adjust to this new sustainable practice.

Promote Second-Hand Shopping

Every time a new product is created, resources are used and emissions are released. An effective way to reduce our consumption is to give products a second lease on life. Second-hand shopping solves both overconsumption and recycles the product at the same time.

With Powell Intranet, you can encourage swapping of second-hand products through a sustainability corner on your intranet. The goal is to encourage sustainable shopping habits and to recycle unwanted items. This means that anyone in the organization can make a listing for the item they want to sell or swap. Buyers can browse the listings and connect with sellers to ask any further questions.

How can HR support sustainability in the workplace?

Your HR team can support environmental and corporate sustainability initiatives in many ways. Often the aim of a green HR department is to increase environmental awareness and promote the social and economic well-being of employees and the whole organization. Human resources can build a sustainable business through several avenues:

  • Increase employees’ knowledge and understanding about environmental causes and how to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Communicate through internal methods such as a Sustainability Corner to convey support for environmentally friendly actions.
  • Educate about environmental behaviors and ways in which the company is reducing its carbon footprint and impact.

What are the benefits of an environmentally friendly workplace?

  • It creates a positive company image, and in turn, employees can feel proud of the company they work for.
  • The organization is more attractive to potential employees and can be valuable in the recruitment process. The next generation of employees is looking for more than a paycheck, they want purpose in their work.
  • Sustainability initiatives help to retain employees. For employees to feel positive about their contribution and their impact, it has been shown to drive higher levels of engagement.


How to promote sustainability in the workplace?

Sustainability is a positive topic for every workplace. However, commonly, CSR communication and initiatives have focused on stakeholders outside the organization.

So, how can you promote sustainability in the workplace to employees?

You can start by building a strong communications strategy and creating a designated sustainability corner on your intranet.

This strategy should be built through two-way communication so that employees feel heard and empowered. Your strategy should encourage participation and engagement. This will allow employees to understand their role in contributing to the larger business goals. It is recommended to focus on initiatives that are related to employees’ pre-existing interests. Finally, involve leadership in all communication, so that initiatives are encouraged by the entire company.

Remember to always communicate the following when discussing CSR practices internally:

  1. What current CSR initiatives, policies and campaigns are currently operating.
  2. Why and how these contribute to the greater good.
  3. How the contributions from the organization or individuals have an impact.
  4. Results of the initiatives, be transparent and honest at all times.

Communicating effectively will instill a sense of pride in the organization and initiatives. Employees will value who they work for and will be more empowered and engaged.

CTA - Sustainability Corner (3)

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