There’s no doubt about it, we’re in a climate change emergency.
Over the last few weeks, we have all felt the effects. The UK has had more tropical nights (above 20°C at night) than ever before. And, to put it bluntly, it’s naive to think that we don’t have a major effect on the world we live in.
Whilst the pandemic briefly slowed down air travel and emissions dropped, it’s all expected to come straight back. But this time with the additional medical waste* from Covid-19.
*Side note – Can we please stop wearing disposable masks? Reusable ones only cost £2-£3 on Etsy. You wash them at 60°C after every use and you’ll feel better knowing you’re doing your bit to help the planet.
Most social movements over the past 100 years are born out of the youth wanting change. According to the European Journal of Public Health close to half a million youths around the world have taken action on climate change. They are more aware of their impact on the planet than ever before. And as the UK’s workforce ages and Gen Z and millennials enter the employment market, I expect to see a shift in what candidates are wanting from employers. Ping-pong tables and free lunches won’t be enough.
In a previous article, I expressed how societal purpose is going to be a bigger driver. What is your company doing that benefits society? However, I’m beginning to think that many candidates will also start to review a company’s green credentials.
How much does this company recycle?
Does this company value eco-friendly initiatives over higher profits?
Does this company pay to offset its carbon?
Do they partner with other companies who equally value the environment?
What’s the CEO’s position on the topic?
What’s their track record when it comes to waste management?
These are all questions we should start to consider when thinking about who we want to work for. Equally, employers should also start thinking and acting on these to ensure they attract the next generation of talent.
So what can you do to help make your business more eco-friendly? Here is a list of suggestions, some may be easier to implement than others… Just remember, any change, no matter how small can help create a cleaner, more sustainable planet for future generations.
Push for your company to only source materials or services from companies that are environmentally friendly.
Gain senior management buy in to create a company green pledge about what they will commit to doing to create a better planet. This could include pledges to reduce international travel. Or implementing a “no unneeded printing’” scheme.
Introduce Flexi working schemes
Since we’ve all been working from home our collective carbon footprint has gone down. As we slowly start to return to the office consider introducing a scheme that allows employees to choose. The reduction in travelling/commuting will also help reduce the usage of energy.
Food and lunches
Campaign for your business to have such initiatives as meat-free Mondays. Encourage colleagues to bring their own lunches in rather than rely on Tesco’s meal deal. Save on all the packaging.
We’ve all gone past the offices lit up like Blackpool tower at night. Change this. Showcase to your facilities team or office manager the cost reduction in energy-saving light bulbs and motion sensors.
Be an advocate to your payroll team to help set up payroll giving. A super tax beneficial way to ensure your chosen charity such as WWF or Greenpeace can get more money from your donation.
Work with finance to understand the company’s position on carbon offsetting and how they could offset more. Can they be carbon negative?
Every single change helps in some way. Don’t put off changes thinking it’s too small to make a difference. It’s not. We all need to play our part in making changes. Campaigning for more eco-friendly products & services and pressuring our governments to further speed up the green revolution.
We can’t all be Great Thunberg – but we all can be a greener version of ourselves.