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What is a Sustainability Team? (Questions Answered)

sustainability team

A sustainability team is made up of environmentally conscious employees who focus on helping their company conceptualize, create, and implement company-wide green initiatives. Today’s post answers common questions about these green teams and their role in the workplace.

According to Harvard Business School, only 46% of executives say that their organizations operate with a strong sense of purpose.

Corporate sustainability practice has grown in impact over the years. It helps businesses attract top-tier talent, better partnerships, and gives them an opportunity to play an active role in environmental preservation.

For many companies, their green initiatives have given them a purpose worth supporting. At the core of this purpose is the sustainability team.

But what exactly do sustainability teams do, why are they important and how do you form one? Let’s dip our toes into defining one of the most important team dynamics of our time.

What is a Green Team?

The term green team was popularized in universities and schools before it crossed over into the corporate world. These days, the terms are interchangeable – ‘sustainability team’ is the same as ‘green team,’ and the same as ‘sustainability committee.

There are nuances of course, and these are up to the company and the responsibilities they assign to the team. In general, a corporate sustainability team exists to make the company they work for greener, and more eco-friendly wherever possible.

Green teams exist in business in voluntary and in permanent positions. The teams can be made up of a handful of key people from a specific department, or from across the entire company. It’s become common practice to assign sustainability team members to certain projects too.  

What Do Sustainability Teams Do at Work?

Every sustainability team will have its own company mandate, goals, and objectives. Here are some key activities that green teams are involved in for the company.

  • Engaging employees on green topics, practices, and rollouts
  • Educating the company about advancing sustainability at work
  • Conceptualize and pitch new sustainability initiatives to leadership (to get buy-in)
  • Create, implement and measure how those green initiatives go, and improve them
  • Host fundraisers to fund initiatives or to sponsor charities / green projects
  • Evaluate the company supply chain and find opportunities for eco-improvement
  • Host events that promote learning, networking, and discussion over sustainability
  • Solve problems that go against the company’s sustainability mandate
  • Implement and test processes that make company employees greener
  • Reduce company waste and promote better recycling practices
  • Find ways to support local environmental projects
  • Host beach cleanups, sustainability fairs and other local events

Why are Green Teams Important for Your Business?

When a team of passionate people get together to execute a singular mission, it ties the company together in ways that leaders are only just starting to understand. A unifying purpose, linked to a worthwhile set of objectives can have a profoundly positive impact on a company.

Aside from protecting the environment and being responsible about material use and disposal – there are dozens are reasons why sustainability teams are critical for business growth.

  • Sustainability teams inspire innovation and employee creativity
  • They attract similarly caring, responsible and talented people to your company
  • They build your company reputation in a way that garners customer admiration
  • They make transparency with partners and customers easier
  • They can help facilitate drastic green product growth and promotion

How Do You Form a Sustainability Team?

Forming a green team can take some time and planning, but the payoff is seeing more sustainability initiatives brought to life. Decide on the resources your company is ready to dedicate to a green team and hire or recruit using this as your baseline.

Many businesses start by asking existing employees to volunteer for the team. Volunteering is a great way to assess people’s interest and skill levels before committing significant resources to the team. Hiring a sustainability manager and building a team around them is also useful.

The key is to incentivize the process, and if the team does well – eventually migrate them to fulltime positions in your company. As we head into a New Year, consider the benefits of having a sustainability committee working to make your company greener.

There will be many employees who are eager to help you recycle better, or who will want to raise money for worthy causes. Find a strong, inspiring leader who will take your new team and make it an integral part of your workplace culture.

The right sustainability team will work hard to guide your company towards a sustainable future, where eco-friendliness acts as a compass for better business decisions. In 2022, our wish is for your company to embrace, enrich or expand your sustainability team.

Do you have any questions about green teams? Leave them here if you’d like our perspective!

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