Part 2: Creating a sustainability culture
The sustainable practice is an initiative we’re passionate about because it’s valuable on so many levels. It makes perfect sense to protect the planet and also save money while we’re doing it. Reducing waste, using less of the earth’s resources and replacing those we are using sounds like an onerous task but if every person in every business makes a contribution, no matter how small, the overall impact will be significant.
One of the first stages of creating a sustainable practice is to have everyone on board. A sustainability culture is one where everyone in your workplace is aware, actively involved and adopts the company’s aims as their own.
In recent times, many businesses, particularly those in larger manufacturing settings, have successfully created a health and safety culture. With an emphasis on zero lost hours due to workplace accidents, wearing the correct PPE and observing best practice, these organisations have raised their H&S standards to exceptional levels. They couldn’t have done this without having the supporting culture in place. Creating a sustainable practice is achieved in a similar way – through understanding, caring and actively getting involved.
So how do you start? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1: Brand your own campaign, give it a simple name and tagline, for example:
The Just Audit 2024 Green Challenge
Together we’re saving money and the planet
2: Launch it in an exciting way – have a green party, give away re-useable drinks bottles, plant a tree - whatever it takes to get your message across. If your staff work from home, plan to have an interesting and interactive pack delivered to everyone at the same time to create a buzz.
3: Make the sustainability message an on-going part of your internal communications. Include it as a regular feature in your staff newsletter, put up posters in both staff areas and also public areas – let everyone know what you’re doing.
1: Support a relevant charity. Choose one that works with your company’s brand and overarching culture. If you can make it relevant to your clients as well, even better. There are some great environmental charities doing excellent work both in the UK and globally. We are considering supporting a charity that is focused on planting trees with every milestone we choose (maybe one for every completed audit!)
2: Do some easy fundraising. Have dress-down days and cake sales - make it easy to support, not everyone wants to climb mountains.
3: Provide some practical ideas on how to introduce changes. Remind people of how they can support the campaign at the appropriate places within the building. Add discreet reminders by bins, light switches, the staff kitchen – wherever you are encouraging small acts of change.
4: Appoint an ambassador from within the team – choose someone who can be responsible for giving your campaign life and momentum.
1: Explain why your business is embracing sustainability. Even the most hardened cynics will find it hard to argue with the baseline aims of reducing waste and saving money. Of course there’s more to it than that but that’s an easy concept to grasp and a good place to start.
2: Create a summary of the campaign’s aims and how you plan to support them. You don’t need a lot of detail at this stage. For example – reduce energy bills by 10% by switching off unnecessary lights and turning off heating in unused areas of the premises.
3: Run short training courses and provide information to help people to understand how their actions can make a big collective difference.
In our next few articles we’ll explore some of the ways that you can get involved in more detail. For now, why not agree that this sounds like a good idea – get it on your company’s agenda and come on the journey with us? Our next articles will help with further substance and support for all of these action points.
By creating a sustainability culture you’ll have a thread of positive and rewarding behaviour that takes root and grows throughout every aspect of your business. The dream is that your people will continue this way of life as second nature and filter it through at home and in other parts of their lives too.
As a disclaimer, at Just Audit we probably do a few things that help to reduce our carbon footprint but we are new to the idea that it is a company-wide initiative that we’re consciously inviting everyone to take part in. We’ll be learning with you!