6 Ways Great Workplaces are Creating a More Sustainable World

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Anthony Hickey

One of the most rewarding aspects of working with Great Workplaces is seeing all of the fantastic CSR work undertaken by clients. Communities at home and abroad are positively impacted through the contributions, time, and effort of organisations, often in unique ways. However, charitable giving is but one aspect of corporate social responsibility, with environmental sustainability becoming an increasingly prominent focus area. How are Ireland’s Best Workplaces helping to create a more sustainable world for future generations? In this article, you will find out.

 

1. They are Creating Employee-led Green Teamsfailte-logoAn excellent way to promote sustainability amongst colleagues is to set up an employee-led Green Team, just as Fáilte Ireland did early last year. The thinking behind the initiative was to create a positive change in behaviour among staff when it comes to sustainability and to influence and guide others in advocating for change. With their first task being to establish the initiate in a remote context, this creative bunch were certainly busy as they:

  • Rolled out a Grow it Yourself programme – Sent GIY packages to staff at home, culminating in a GIY virtual summer party where those taking part could show off their planting prowess.
  • Started a Garden Biodiversity Initiative – This gave staff passionate about gardening the chance to provide blogs, guidance, and tips to the organisation.
  • Started a Re-use, Re-love initiative – This offers advice and tips to staff on how to use items around the house.

 

 

2. They are Finding Fun Ways to Engage Staff

 

abbvie

 

AbbVie’s EcoChallenge which was launched on Earth Day and offers a perfect example of how to engage employees through fun activities. The well communicated initiative urged employees to join teams and complete challenges, such as swapping driving for cycling, creating less food waste, and being more energy efficient at home and in the office.

In 2021, 3,684 participants in 343 team completed 115,907 sustainability actions including saving 46 tonnes of carbon, 159,100 minutes of being mindful, and 1,712 advocacy actions completed. To cap it all off, AbbVie hold a yearly event to celebrate the impact that colleagues have made in areas such as volunteering and protecting the environment. What an excellent way to encourage and reward helping the environment.

 

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3. They are Facilitating Sustainable Commuting

 

mainstream logo

 

Mainstream Renewable Power, a global company with its group headquarters in Dublin, has a clear and simple mission to lead the global transition to renewable energy. They have set out to achieve this by developing, constructing, and operating utility-scale renewable energy plants around the world. But it isn’t just their tireless efforts to create a world electrified by renewable energy that catches the eye; they are also ensuring that their employees can commute sustainably by putting in place the following initiatives:

  • Facilitating a flexible home working model to help reduce the number of employees commuting to and from the office each day
  • Supporting home working by providing home office furniture and IT equipment and services to all team members
  • Providing Electric Vehicle charging points at 30% of their office car park spaces for team members to use
  • Offering shower and locker facilities to employees commuting longer distances to work on foot or by bike
  • Promoting the Government Cycle to Work and TaxSaver Travel Ticket schemes to encourage the use of public transport and/or pedal power when commuting
  • Providing dedicated secure bicycle parking in their office car park
  • Implementing an app which allows all employees monitor the CO2 savings arising from home working

 

 

4. They are Getting Kids Involved

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What better way to create a more sustainable world for generations to come than to show kids the importance of helping the environment through fun activities? Pre-Covid, Cisco Systems did just that, through their “Bring Your Kids to Work Day”, with a sustainable twist. 110 children were educated and entertained with prizes for the children who had to colour in their recycling posters, and guest speakers helping them understand the different ways to recycle at home in a fun and engaging way.

 

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5. They are Making Sustainable Choices Simple

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Poppulo make sustainability simple for their employees through education and ensuring options for recycling waste are readily available. They conducted a 5-month sustainability campaign to increase awareness and promote sustainability, involving monthly newsletters, weekly mobile posts, and several events to drive awareness.

The campaign was closed out with a follow-up pulse survey to measure whether the campaign had been effective. What’s more, Poppulo’s Sustainability Team made it easy for their staff to act sustainably and reduce the amount of waste to landfill by:

  • Separating waste streams into general waste and recycling
  • Introducing composting bins for all food and compostable waste
  • Educating colleagues on what goes in which bin at all-company dining events
  • Creating signage that not only pertains to in-office waste streams but that shares knowledge and advice for colleagues to use and apply at home (recycling codes)
  • Organising a Halloween costume swap
  • Encouraging less waste at Easter with an article, promoting less waste

 

 

6. They are Developing Long-Term Sustainability Plans

 

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On a grand scale, Tesco Ireland’s Little Helps Plan is a framework through which they shape their long-term approach to sustainability. The plan sets out how Tesco will make a positive difference to customers, colleagues, communities, and the environment and enables them to monitor and improve performance, both within their own operations and the wider supply chain.

Their long-term approach to sustainability has seen them receive two awards at the Chambers Ireland Sustainable Business Impact Awards. Excellence in Environment, reflecting their work on reducing their carbon footprint and Excellence in Marketplace – for collaboration with suppliers to reduce plastic packaging.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Great Workplaces aren’t just creating a better environment for their employees through culture, they are creating a more sustainable world for future generations. Fittingly, this topic has become increasingly important to the youth of today, who will undoubtedly be looking to join organisations with a strong commitment to sustainability. We commend the organisations that drive meaningful change in this area, we can’t wait to see what impact your next initiatives have.

 

To learn more about the Great Place to Work Programme, get in touch with our team today.

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