Protecting the environment as a new working norm

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Who says that all rules are for breaking?

It comes as no surprise to anyone that companies and big businesses are having a strong impact on the environment.

It comes as no surprise to anyone that companies and big businesses are having a strong impact on the environment. Perhaps they make us feel that our individual voice is not as important and lacks projection.

The truth is quite the opposite. Everyone doing their bit can make the difference and that is why we must dare to raise our hand and make our opinions heard, even more so when a positive change for the planet and future generations depends on them.

The world has changed and within it certain things have changed, take for example the fact that hardly anyone uses printed material anymore. Everything we used to print can now be sent by email and or even on hard drives so as not to pollute by using the internet.

But that’s not the only thing. Many companies take their environmental responsibilities as seriously as their social ones and have expressed their views on it to the rest of the world and become examples to follow for many other companies.

What can you do when your workplace does not take its environmental responsibilities seriously?

If this happens then it is time to resort to individual changes, that is, slowly change to reduce your carbon footprint, perhaps change needs to start with us and more and more people can join in with sustainable initiatives.

Start by reducing waste, if you have to print, just print the essential when there is no other alternative. Recycle paper and sheets that are only printed on one side can be reused as scrap paper.

What about if you could work from home at least once a week?

Not only would you be saving time, but you would also be saving energy by not having to travel to the office and back.

Walking or cycling to the office, using public transport and sharing lifts with colleagues are great ways of reducing greenhouse gas contamination.

Use less plastic, take your own drinks bottle to top up during the day, if you drink coffee then don’t forget your favourite mug, and if for any reason you cannot avoid using plastic then find a way to reuse it, perhaps even make handy office accessories out of it.

Talk to people, the more people to join the green initiative, the better. Start with those who are likely to be more in favour of making the change anyway.

Find out if your offices are sustainable if the company is using efficient air-conditioning and heating. Also learn whether your company is investing in clean infrastructure to protect its workers and the environment.

Organise an Environmental Impact Free Week, to learn to live more sustainably for at least a week –sustainable initiative, perhaps the change might be for good for more than one of your colleagues.

Don’t stop expressing your opinion and support for the Paris Agreement

If you can’t change anything in your company, it doesn’t matter how much effort you make and how much you show that these actions are necessary for a better future, it may be time to look for another company. If you leave your job it may make the company realise that it needs to make a change to its environmental approach.

There is currently a trend for people to carry out a study before they work for a company to learn all of its social responsibility policies and environmental impact.

With regards this latter point, take for example young people, who will inherit the planet and are more aware now than ever of their environmental footprint. These same students who are about to dive into the professional market at this time have joined together under the initiative #FridaysForFuture in support of taking action against global warming and climate change.

To identify whether a company is sustainable you can look at specific aspects such as:

  • Whether it goes further than social corporate responsibility and contemplates sustainability, with reforestation, reusing materials, etc.
  • A responsible company knows the needs of the company well and works continuously on them in the long-term.
  • It returns to the earth what it has taken from it, in other words, performs actions that counteract the use of natural resources or CO2 emissions.
  • It works so that topics related to the climate agenda are a recurring and detailed topic of conversation.
  • Sustainability is in the DNA of its CEO and is part of the business culture. Strong leadership in this area is vital so that all members of the organisation are involved in sustainable practices.
  • Sustainability has to be part of the business strategy. This involves working in the professional environment, adapting spaces for personnel and for all members of the company to be on board with the sustainability strategy.

Sustainable companies are a powerful magnet for those looking for their first employment or who want to change companies. There are three very clear reasons for this:

  1. A sustainable company is a source of pride for the professionals who work there
  2. A company’s commitment to sustainability implies that the company is committed to its personnel
  3. Sustainability connects management and workers through sharing personal values

“Sustainable companies have a better future outlook”

Annemiek Nusmeijer, founder of The Sustainable Recruiter, a leading Dutch company in HR selection that offers its services to organisations involved in sustainability.

The truth is that protecting the environment already forms part of the strategic actions that companies that aspire to be sustainable companies have been carrying out for years. If these organisations, which already are well-established, have had to undergo profound transformations, the majority of the new generations already have the green gene in their DNA.

On your side is that asserting your position on protecting the environment in all aspects of life means that if your company doesn’t have a green strategy you could be the small movement that starts an avalanche.


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