Use little actions to drive your company’s green agenda

Jul 27, 2011   //   by Bradley Short   //   Blog, Company Culture, Leadership, Operations Management  //  No Comments

In the push to become a better, more eco-responsible small or medium sized business, sometimes the best you can do is start small.  Just because you can’t do something revolutionary like replace your materials with flowers and soy, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make a green difference somewhere.  Environmentalism strengthens company culture and saves money too, so if you haven’t yet, start taking small steps toward sustainability and then see where it leads you.

An inexpensive way to drive green thinking

Encouraging employees to reduce waste and recycle is a good and easy entry point to a green culture shift.  But putting recycling bins out isn’t enough (everyone does that!).  Dartmouth College traded its regular trash bins for tiny ones with large recycling boxes and saw great cuts in their waste.  They also required staff members to empty their own trash (but the recycling was taken care of for them) and it ended up gamifying the way they thought about trash!  Making recycling the easier option made it simple for them to do the right thing.

Connecting actions to impact

You may think that a small action like that has little effect on the environment, but small activities really add up.  And the most important thing is that it gets your employees to think about what their actions really mean.  True corporate sustainability requires a culture shift, and that doesn’t happen all at once.

Take that first step

All of the focus on large-scale corporate environmental action (like switching to renewable power sources or cleaning up your supply chain) can make the road to sustainability seem too difficult for some smaller companies.  Or maybe environmental challenges can seem too daunting for one business to make a difference.  Though large-scale environmentalism is a great thing, and indeed is necessary, don’t hesitate to start small green initiatives before you’re ready to “take the plunge.”

As the old saying goes, “Just because you can’t do everything, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something.”