|Green up your Workspace|
This year, the theme of WED is “Green Economy: Does it include you?” That’s a good question for businesses. As a collective, you can encourage fellow workers to use the "4Rs": refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle.
According to the CSIRO, our 9-5 behaviour is far from perfect, with the average office worker creating around seven tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year. Through their share of lighting, air-conditioning and use of office equipment, that's the equivalent to the emissions produced by 1.7 cars annually.
Not only that, but by using a ream of paper every two weeks, the average employee fells a mature blue gum in just 90 weeks. Furhermore, our average yearly water consumption (22.5KL) from bathroom visits, cooling, heating and building landscaping means it would take just 111 office workers one year to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a green economy is one that “results in improved well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities … an economic environment that achieves low carbon emissions, resource efficiency and at the same time is socially inclusive.”
If you have not already done so, here are several ways your business can help meet the goals of WED all year round and help create a green economy:
Get your workplace to perform a waste audit to determine how much they throw away. Hopefully, this will shock them into action.
Use less paper. Deforestation currently accounts for nearly 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Replace your demand for paper products by using electronic files.
Support telecommuting and alternate means of transport. Allow some of your employees to work from home, encourage employees to carpool to work and/or create a bike to work program.
Conserve water. Install water-efficient fixtures and equipment at your workplace, fix leaks promptly, and shut off water to unused areas of your facility.
Conserve energy. Turn off lights and computers, and unplug office appliances when you aren’t using them. Also, invest in a programmable thermostat that will allow you to regulate the temperature in your office.
Reduce waste. Recycle everything from paper to plastic to glass and electronics.
Support other green businesses. Purchase from companies that have sustainability plans, use ecolabels, invest in renewable energy, and are sincerely committed to reducing their carbon footprint.
Share some of your green techniques with your co-workers. You may find like-minded people in your company who want to implement some of the same environmentally friendly (not to mention easy and often money-saving) practices.
Ecobites is a non profit website. Please consider supporting our efforts with a small donation between $5 to $10. Corporations can request a sponsorship package.