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Join the green team

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Join or create a work team focused on dreaming up and implementing schemes to reduce the impact your workplace has on the environment.

The understanding that workplaces have an important role to play in moving us towards sustainability is relatively new.

Accordingly, many businesses and organisations remain unsure of how to put this into practice. Creating or joining committees, ideas groups, and Green Teams to focus on and implement pro-environmental change at work can make a real difference! While some of the initial actions available to workplaces are easily identified and common to many organisations (for example, reducing and recycling paper), the ongoing support and success of these programs relies on the enthusiasm and commitment of the people behind them. We’re all teachers and we’re all learners – together we can achieve big things!

How to do it now!

The range of activities, goals and foci of a Green Team is unlimited, as almost every aspect of any organisation could be made more efficient in its use of environmental resources.

While the other actions mentioned in this section are a good starting point, they simply represent the low-hanging fruit most organisations could pick. That said, we need to be aware that even implementing these actions requires a team of informed, focused and dedicated individuals intent on making, tailoring and implementing them. Further analysis of your organisation's specific makeup will reveal a new and more appropriate list of actions to take as a next step.

Creating a Green Team - Forming a group intended to evolve the organisation's environmental agendas and focused on implementing on-the-ground solutions to environmental problems can greatly improve an organisation's environmental performance.

In general, Green Teams design and implement programs that include many of the following aims:

  • To work with management to set goals for environmental improvement, along with incremental steps toward these goals.
  • To educate and raise staff awareness of the environmental impact of their workplace and the work done in it (eg include environmental component in staff induction process, internally brand sustainability programs, etc).
  • To explore and develop sustainable alternatives to these environmental impacts of the workplace (eg develop priorities list of sustainable initiatives and/or behaviour change initiatives).
  • To engage staff in maintaining and improving these sustainable alternatives (eg track paper recycling program and tweak to customise and improve).
  • To monitor and promote the status of and improvement in environmental goals (eg provide regular updates of progress and environmental benefits of the program, as well as highlighting non-environmental benefits).

Wyong Shire Council Leading by Example

Council has established an internal Sustainability Team. This group represents the broad range of sections of Council.  They meet bi-monthly to share real sustainability achievements across the entire organisation and initiate change.

The team has been instrumental in Council's advances in sustainability since it started in 2009. Council was recognised for its efforts in December 2009, receiving the prestigious NSW Local Government and Shires Association Excellence in the Environment - Local Sustainability 2008/09 Award (Overall Category Winner).  Staff can join the Sustainability Team or find out more about what they are doing  through Councils Sustainability Unit.

Council encourages staff to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible. Sustainability in action is demonstrated through Council's Swap Station. Councils Swap Station provides staff the opportunity to share resources with others instead of them ending up in landfill. An area has been allocated for Council staff to store and register goods such as folders, book holders, office resources and in some cases equipment, for other staff to make use of. The station works very well and has been received positively by staff.

Council continues to work with the Local Government and Shires Association on improving the sustainable choice of goods and services for Council activities and services.

Council contributes annually to GreenPower though its purchase of electricity for Council buildings and lighting.

Why is this action important?

Our workplaces consume by far the lion's share of resources in our society. By working to improve the environmental sustainability of our workplaces, we take responsibility for the environmental quality of all aspects of our daily lives. By doing this, we take a giant step forward in moving our society toward a more sustainable path.