Encourage your employees to think green

By Evelyn James

Millions of people around the world have become more concerned about climate change, non-recyclable waste, air quality and other environmental issues in recent years, as scientific data has become more alarming, and momentum has grown behind protest movements like Extinction Rebellion.

Yet in the busy day to day of working life, it can be easy to forget about these issues and proceed with business as normal.

Creating a more eco-friendly business has numerous benefits; as well as having an impact on the world around us it can boost employee morale, attract new clients, streamline your processes and in some areas save you cash, too.

So how do you get your employees onboard with this new way of thinking? Here are five ways to get started.

Make a manifesto

As mentioned, the majority of your employees are probably already fairly eco-conscious. Reach out to them (either directly or through an anonymous survey) to ask if there are parts of your current operations they think could be run better from a green standpoint. You could also ask them what their biggest environmental concerns are and why they care about them.

This will allow you to form an ‘eco manifesto’ that directly reflects your company’s concerns that you can distribute in order to announce your new focus on green initiatives.

Set concrete challenges

To keep green thinking front of mind, your employees will need specific goals or challenges to work towards.

This could mean doing meat-free Mondays as an office, or even going vegan for an entire month (this could be a sponsored activity for those who would find it tough). It could be a competition between teams to see who can reduce their waste or increase their recycling most over a set period. Or it could mean small fines for employees who leave their computers on at the end of the day or bring in single-use coffee cups or bottled water, with the pot going towards a good cause (or a round of drinks).

The important thing is that the challenges are fun and inspirational rather than people feeling like they’re being forced into them or shamed for their behaviour, so bounce around ideas to get a sense of what your employees would enjoy.

Revamp your recycling systems

When we’re back in offices, there will be a strong case for sorting out waste management systems, particularly before they go back into heavy use. If your recycling bins were frequently overflowing, or people were often putting the wrong items in them, now is the time to upsize and make sure they are all clearly labelled.

Consider investing in tools like waste compactors to make a bigger impact. These machines compress items like cardboard, glass, cans and plastic, saving office space and employee time that is currently spent organising and folding or disassembling waste. They can save money too, since less waste collection will be required. In fact, introducing a baling machine saves companies an average £1,248 per year, according to manufacturer QCR.

Set an example

Beyond your office recycling, are you showing that at the highest level you’re committed to green initiatives? Practices from the small, like ordering more sustainable office supplies and putting all lights on a timer; to the large, like making ethical investments and purchasing carbon offsetting credits if your business involves travel, will all increase team motivation and show that you’re all in it together.

Appoint ambassadors and check in

To keep the momentum going on your green initiatives, it will help to have a person or several people who are responsible for updating the team on how things are going. It will be a great motivation to find out how much you’ve increased recycling, or how many more people have decided to cycle to work instead of driving. You could also look into certification schemes, so that your business has something to show off after all your efforts.


Evelyn James is an emerging freelancer who’s passionate about entrepreneurship, copywriting, and the latest social media trends. When she’s isn’t writing, she can be found either scrolling through Pinterest or rereading Harry Potter for the hundredth time.

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