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Three Initiatives to Kickstart a Culture of Sustainability in the Workplace

Three Initiatives to Kickstart a Culture of Sustainability in the Workplace

Implementing sustainability initiatives within the office could seem a daunting task for many leaders. As with anything, there are many moving parts, potential pushback and costs to consider. But as the reality of climate change hits closer and closer to home with each passing year, it’s important for all of us to take initiative in doing what we can to lower our individual carbon footprint. Below, let’s explore some relatively basic, low cost solutions that can be implemented at any workplace at any time.
  1. Provide recycling options 

Perhaps the most acknowledged and established means of environmental conservancy is recycling. However this can go far beyond the iconic trash and recycle bin combo that we are so used to seeing in offices and street corners, and implementing the proper recycling practices is important to ensure its effectiveness. Some research into your city’s recycling capabilities is needed to do this however, as contrary to popular belief, not every municipality or region is equipped for all kinds of recycling, with sadly many things ending up in landfill either way. Therefore to maximize efficiency, implement the appropriate recycling program, be it the basic bins for paper and plastic, or more specialized bins for compost, metals and even electronics! Quick research into local companies who provide these services will work wonders and foster partnerships with local businesses. As a memorable way to launch this initiative, an educator can even be brought in to introduce and educate the office on proper recycling practices. Hanging up posters and leaving info sheets as visual prompts will help integrate the idea of sustainability into the office culture as well.


  1. Support Green Vendors

Whether your workplace has regular caterers for events, office kitchens, or grocers for the office pantry, supporting local, sustainability-focused vendors is a very effective way to integrate sustainability into the office culture. In this regard, there is no shortage of choice in companies striving to provide excellent products while sourcing ethically, organically, and locally, and should prove an easy transition should such a service be in place at your office already. So the next time you’re looking for caterers for an office event, or looking to stock the pantry, do some digging into local companies whose values are rooted in sustainability and see if they can’t fill that need. Or, survey your current suppliers and ask what they are doing to reduce their carbon footprint and practice sustainability.

  1. Promote Green Transportation

Promoting green methods of transport for the morning and afternoon commute can be of a huge benefit to the environment and a direct benefit to your employees. Cars account for 28% of annual greenhouse gas emissions in Canada alone, and if your business is in a city with the right infrastructure to support carpooling or public transit, then these methods of transport need to be utilized. This can come in the form of providing incentives for carpooling like preferred parking spots, or company discounts on transit tickets, or an occasional work from home policy. Any and all of these measures would reduce your business’s carbon footprint by a substantial amount as more cars are taken off the road, and provide great incentives for employees making green choices.



Make sustainability a core part of your company’s values and culture at every level of the organization. As the examples above show, introducing an initiative doesn’t have to be complicated or costly, and can even be of a direct benefit to employees. And it’s exactly by taking these baby steps that a culture around it can form, as the value sets in and takes root in the organization, allowing for more innovative and impactful changes to be made later on.


By Joshua Jung
Artwork by Noah Jung (@noahjungart)


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