Establishing “green teams” is an inspiring way for companies to motivate employees and shift their strategies towards a more sustainable path. This is becoming important as more stakeholders demand companies mitigate their impact on people and the planet--and shareholders and investors rightfully demand profits. In an era where both young professionals and experienced employees wish to find more meaning in their work, giving the green light to employees to find new ideas in rooting out waste, creating improved designs and finding new efficiencies can pay huge dividends.
Green teams or committees - groups of employees who are working to make their company's operations more environmentally friendly - also send a message that the company’s organizational structure is not simply one where messages start at the top and filter on down. And even if this idea to “green” a company comes from a CEO or senior executive, if he or she were smart--they will make sure these green teams, at the very least, appear to have bubbled up from the ranks.
So what are these oft-mentioned green teams and what are the right approaches to take? I start by discussing the ideas of 3p’s own Bill Roth; and then share a few examples where greening-by-committee resulted in success.
In his book The Secret Green Sauce, Roth combines his experience as a business coach and training as an economist. He encourages human resources departments to allow green teams within organizations as a tool for instigating organizational change. With the idea of doing good by “cost less, mean more” thinking, Roth sees such teams as a way to engage employees to brainstorm and research reasons for organizational change, experiment with new processes to achieve results and then spread the word by sharing success with their colleagues.
According to Roth, these eight keys make up a successful green team:
[Image credit: Hyatt.com]
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.