4 Questions to Evaluate the Company’s Impact on the Environment

by Chris Rhatigan on Aug 29, 2016 1:00:00 PM

Company's impact on the environment

Every day, your workplace has an effect on the environment. Companies around the country are looking for new ways to reduce waste and limit their carbon emissions.

With millennials saying that businesses need to be more socially aware, environmental responsibility will become mission critical. But what are the best ways to go about changing your companys behaviors? Consider how the following questions apply to your organization:


01. What are you doing now?

A good first step is to evaluate your companys environmental impact. You can do this by hiring an outside expert on carbon emissions. This will give you a benchmark to work from. You can set goals, such as reducing your carbon footprint by 10% in the first year and 20% in the second year.


02. How can you save energy?

unplugging powerSOURCE: giphy.com

Discuss with employees all the ways in which the office could save energy. For example, unplugging and shutting down all electronic devices at the end of the day can save a lot of energy that’s typically wasted.

Everything from microwaves to computer monitors siphons off power even when they’re not being used. Small changes like this can have a significant impact when the entire workplace is on board.


03. Do you have flexible work policies?

If everyone in your workplace is commuting an hour total each day, then this is an easy target for improving your environmental impact. Allowing employees to work from home some of the time will have an immediate effect on your carbon footprint. Technology makes it easy for employees to complete their work and stay in the loop even when they’re not in the office. Not to mention that employees prefer having the flexibility to work when and where they want.


04. What incentives are you providing?

celebrateSOURCE: giphy.com

There are many ways to support your team’s effort to reduce its environmental impact. Have a party at the end of the year if you meet your overall goals. Offer a free happy hour drink to employees who take extra initiative or a small company-wide bonus for meeting monthly goals.

A recent experiment by Virgin Atlantic tested three ways to reduce its environmental impact with its pilots. One group of pilots was given information about their monthly performance. Another group was given this information along with a specific goal of improving by 25% over their preexperiment numbers. A third group was given the monthly report, targets, and a small incentive for meeting their goals.

It turns out that all three groups reduced their environmental impact, saved the company over $5 billion, and reduced carbon emissions by 21,500 metric tons. Those in the second group performed best. By changing the expectations for the job, pilots altered their behaviors and met the goal. 

Reducing businesses’ environmental impact is crucial in the twenty-first century. Employees are expecting more from their companies when it comes to social responsibility — and organizations are delivering.

 

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This post was written by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance writer and editor. He is a former newspaper reporter for The New Haven Register and The Iowa City Press-Citizen. He enjoys playing old video games, studying (and trying to speak) Hindi, and walking his dog on the local trails. He lives in India.