Green office – Individual level

Involving staff in greening their office practices is a critical step in initiating long-term behaviour change and creating a domino effect throughout the organisation and beyond.

How do office practices impact climate?

Corporate environmental responsibility (CER), also known as “green CSR” aims to reduce the impact of business operations on the environment. Having a green office can help reduce energy consumption, waste, and CO2 emissions; improve the organisation’s supply chain to a more eco-responsible one while supporting green initiatives. Among other benefits, it raises staff awareness, inspires and encourages other organisations to engage in environmental stewardship.

Why are individual actions important?

Everyone can take daily measures to reduce their carbon and environmental footprint, in their private life but also at work.  Within their organisation, individuals can act in various ways such as saving energy, water and resources, green commuting or reducing waste. They can inspire other colleagues, create a domino effect and trigger more climate action at the organisational level. Therefore, whatever the position or role, individuals’ actions count. Organisations can build upon them to further engage in green corporate environmental responsibility.

Why is this a key issue for the aid sector?

Humanitarian crises will increasingly be the product of climate crises and it is therefore important to act to prevent the magnitude of these. For this reason, having individual environmentally-friendly practices at the office when working in an aid organisation is an important factor when it comes to coherence between the values of working in this sector, the mission of the organisation and the day-to-day practices.

How can we act?

There are simple actions that can be taken in every office to help reduce the individual and collective environmental impact. They range from the way one comes to work, brings food from home, reduces meat, prints less, avoids plastic, increases the life of furniture and IT equipment, improves food choices, etc.

© Nareeta Martin/Unsplash.

What are the gains?

Green office practices are innumerable, easy to apply in different regions and contexts and visible to all. By suggesting and taking action, individuals can improve their daily work and reduce their impact on the environment, as well as feel a sense of pride in acting and inspiring their colleagues and organisation.

  • Point of attention

    The organisation should create a safe working environment in which individuals feel comfortable suggesting and taking proactive actions regarding the environment. If the organisation is supportive enough, these individual green practices can become more frequent and become the basis for a more ambitious corporate environmental responsibility policy (bottom up approach).

Key facts

62%

6,000 sheets of paper a year are printed by the average UK office worker, of which around 62% is wasted or unnecessary (1)

70%

Up to 70% of energy can be saved by putting computers to sleep mode (2)

1.3 billion tonnes

About 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted each year (3)

3.8%

3.8% of the world’s greenhouse gases are emitted by the digital sector (4)

Key solutions

Sources

(1) WWF, Lets make our workplaces sustainable, 2020. Read here.

(2) Gouvernement français DITP, Le guide éco-responsable, 2020. Read here.

(3) WWF, Food. Read here.

(4) QQF, Pollution numérique. Read here.

 

Cover photo © Yannis Papanastasopoulos/Unsplash.