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How to Start a Corporate Green Team to Fast-track Your Green Initiatives

December 30, 2020

Are you planning to start an effective corporate green team?

First of all – congratulations on embracing good environmental practices in the workplace! This is the beginning of your eco-adventure, and a great way to help your company, and the planet.

Committing to sustainable economic development as a company is more than implementing a recycling program, or reducing your food waste.

It’s about contributing to a better future for everyone, everywhere.

To make it easier for you, here’s what you need to know about starting your sustainability team. In 9 steps, you’ll go from zero to getting on the fast-track to first-rate green initiatives at work.

Before the steps, here’s a little reminder of the definition of the term ‘green team.’

What is a Green Team?

Traditionally, green teams are voluntary groups of people that come together to teach others about sustainable development, and show them ways to help the environment at work through programs, initiatives and educational experiences.

Green teams are:

  • Either grassroots or established teams
  • Focused on helping the company be eco-friendly
  • Committed to improving the social, economic and environmental impact of their brand
  • Dedicated to inspiring the employees inside a company to go green

These days, a corporate green team can be either voluntary or officially appointed – with a Director of Sustainability at the company driving funded green initiatives for their corporation.

Step 1: Announce a Call for Green Team Members

The first step to putting together a motivated sustainability team, is to announce that there are 12-15 (or less) official positions available and you are accepting applications.

Get the word out:

  • Announce it publically at an employee gathering
  • Send an office-wide email blast
  • Put up posters and a signup sheet
  • Create a display that calls for applicants

Employees at most companies really care about green initiatives, so much so that according to a recent study – 40% of Millennials choose where to work based on their sustainability programs. 

Step 2: Host Your First Official Meeting

Your first official meeting will have your green manager chatting to the candidates about why they want to help the company with eco initiatives and where they could make the most impact.

Make sure that your selected candidates:

  • Are fully committed to the team
  • Will be available for meetings and can take on additional work
  • Are willing to be green ambassadors for your company (be visible)
  • Come from different departments
  • Have leadership potential

Large environmentally conscious companies should appoint a manager to keep their green team on track, on budget and setting realistic goals.

This manager will meet the applicants, speak about the company’s long term sustainability goals and make the final selection. You can also opt to accept anyone who wants to be a part of the team.

Step 3: Assign Roles and Responsibilities

After choosing the best possible corporate green team members, you’ll host a brainstorming session where you will discuss various green initiatives and who would be best doing what on the team.

  • Assign roles to each team member (funding, technology, energy, waste, water…)
  • Review each member’s skillsets and assign responsibilities (writing, speaking, organizing…)
  • Reaffirm time expectations and short term planning objectives

This brainstorming session is where your team will come up with small green business ideas and who will be responsible for each idea or initiative moving forward.

Step 4: Discuss Meeting Times and Outreach

The next step is to nail down a regular meeting time that makes sense with conflicting team schedules. There should always be a core number of members present to drive progress forward.

  • After the team formation phase, twice a month is effective
  • 64% of team members pay attention for 45 minutes, 91% for 15 minutes
  • Most green team communication can be managed via messenger and email
  • Decide how to keep company employees informed & engaged

Chat about ways to help the environment at work that won’t take long. A green team recycling initiative is an easy starting point for your outreach schedule.

Step 5: Establish Your Green Mission Statement

Once your schedule is sorted out it’s time to focus on establishing a green mission statement for your corporate green team. Consider all four sustainability pillars when creating your statement.

Refine your mission statement until you have one sentence, or one paragraph, that neatly explains your purpose, as it relates to the other employees and their practices at your company.

Step 6: Audit Existing Green Initiatives

This step is more hands on for your team. To understand where to begin with good environmental practices in the workplace, you’ll need to conduct a company-wide sustainability audit.

  • Identify the areas you want to audit (initiatives, governance, impact, waste reduction, resource conservation, employee engagement, sustainable supply chains)
  • Rank these by order of importance, and assign an audit to each green team member

All green team ideas for corporations need to be rolled out slowly, according to a prioritized list. Determine which sustainable area needs the most attention, and start there. 

Step 7: Attract Volunteers and Build Satellite Teams

Once your corporate green team moves forward with various initiatives, you’ll find that you need more help. Attracting employee volunteers and creating satellite teams is part of your mission!

  • Be public about the green initiatives you’re running and call for volunteers often
  • Specific initiatives will benefit from short-term green volunteers
  • Spend time building dedicated satellite teams at other branches/locations
  • Reward volunteers when you achieve your green goals

Creating an eco-office means that everyone will at some point, decide to volunteer for a green initiative. Make it fun, fulfilling and rewarding so that people want to get involved.

Step 8: Invest in Green Learning Opportunities

Environmentally conscious companies that have established green teams often have a dedicated budget for you to use when setting up your initiatives, programs and plans. Use this budget to learn more about sustainable development!

If you don’t have funding for green initiatives, you can always host some exciting fundraising experiences for your company. 

  • Invest in an educational app that unifies your green team recycling programs
  • The right app will improve the recycling IQ of your entire company
  • Get experts, speakers and leaders in the space to do presentations at work

Giving your employees easily accessible educational resources like a recyclepedia will drastically improve the efficiency of your green programs.

Step 9: Create Momentum with Proven Results<

Get off to a strong start by getting your corporate green team to benchmark and then systematically improve your various green initiatives at work. If your programs are connected to an app, it makes tracking, collecting data, and analyzing results easier.

  • Use analytics (facts/figures) to prove to stakeholders that your initiatives work
  • Get more funding and discover more opportunities with proven results (cost-savings, resource reduction, efficiency improvements)
  • Inspire your employees with the proven success of your green team (boost morale!)

Your mission is to create an eco-friendly business, by getting everyone involved in the success of your initiatives. Create momentum, and design a truly sustainable work culture!

Sustainable economic development is about helping your employees realize their responsibility to the world. Your team will light the torch and carry it to each person, using these 9 steps.

Find your ideal corporate green team members, host a selection meeting, then establish your team structure, mission and process. Audit your current initiatives and rollout company-wide improvements, tracking and measuring as you go.

If you do this, you will help your company go green for now, and forever. Get started!

What is the first green initiative you plan to tackle once your green team is formed? Tell us below.

Have ideas you want to pitch or want to write for Recycle Coach? Email us at partnerships@recyclecoach.com.

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