5 Strategies to Green Any Job

You can’t beat the satisfaction of making the world a cleaner, more pristine place. For this reason, more and more people want green jobs. The more President Obama talks about them, the better they sound. In reality, many of us can have a tremendous impact, without working for a wildlife reserve or a solar energy company.
Here are some ways to green your existing job:
Start a Game
People love competitions, even if it is ultimately for a mundane goal. What department can reduce their electricity use the most or have the largest number of employees commute by bike? How can you replace bottled water consumption with filtered tap water?
“We have people here in our offices that are creating contests around printing,” said Matt Arnold, Partner, Pricewaterhouse Coopers in an interview with TriplePundit. “Think about how day-to-day this can get. We are having a contest to see who can print the least, floor by floor, department by department. We are keeping score and it’s a little game. The people that designed it are having a blast and we’re reducing paper consumption.”

Raise Awareness
“Once you draw people in like that, it all becomes and education process,” continued Matt Arnold. “They start to wonder, where does paper come from anyway? Why do we need so much of it? Is all paper consumption bad? How much is recycled? What does a sustainably managed forest look like?”
workers.jpgPeople are more likely to get excited about the game if they understand its importance in a larger context. Much of this can come about organically during discussions over lunch or at a staff meeting.
Get Buy-In From Upper Management
With a meager job market, many people might feel that they have no choice but to remain at a certain job. Sustainability initiatives can help boost their enthusiasm and give a renewed interest in a given job.
In 2007, an Ipsos Mori survey found 81% of Americans prefer working for a company with a good environmental responsibility reputation. Employee retention and productivity are reliant on worker morale and sustainability indicatives can be a way to bolster that. Some managers will take advantage of potential green initiatives and use it as a way to attract talent.
“This generation wants to work for a corporation that is socially responsible,” says Barry Anderson, interim CEO for Gifts in Kind. “When I entered the workforce, that never came up.”
Some companies take advantage of this as a means for employee retention on boosting morale. With upper management support, green improvements can flourish even more.
Have a Vision
Every sustainability initiatives within a company originated from someone with a vision. Employees often are in the best position to see where the greatest improvements can be made.
“We got a call from a pharmaceutical company that wants to install solar panels on their roofs,” said Matt Arnold. “That’s triggered by some individual that works for that company that thinks that’s a good idea and that’s a green idea.”
Ultimately, our attitude and way of thinking within a job can have a greatest impact on how green it is. “What is a green job?,” said Matt Arnold. “We can all have a green job.”

Sarah Lozanova is a green copywriter and communications professional specializing in renewable energy and clean technology. She is a consultant for Sustainable Solutions Group and a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Mother Earth Living, Home Power, Earth911, and Green Builder. Her experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School and she resides in Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in Midcoast Maine.

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