Posted on 26/02/2020 by Breeanna Noske
In 2020, we at Entrée Recruitment have initiated an internal Environmental Committee. Our team have long had an interest in operating an environmentally friendly and sustainable office, and we already utilise a multi bin system (including curbside collected recycling and REDcycle collection), a clothing donation bin, and an effort towards reduced paper usage via our transition to electronic interviewing utilising iPads in 2019. However, we decided that a dedicated committee would enable further efforts in this area and the ability to set goals and hold ourselves accountable to them.
Our Environmental Committee consists of three volunteer Entrée Recruitment employees. Thus far, the committee has been meeting once fortnightly, initially to establish responsilibties and goals, and now to place plans into action. We believe that meetings will reduce in regularity after the implentation of processes.
If an Environmental Committee is something that you have considered within your office, or if you think you may wish to pay deeper attention to your office's sustainability practices, let us share our insights, goals, and actions thus far.
Environmental Committee Benefits
In addition to the obvious environmental benefits of such an initiative, the forming of this committee greatly attributes to employee satisfaction in our experience. Allowing staff to contribute to any form of office strategy or process improvement provides employees with a sense of inclusion. And allowing employees to dedicate time to their passions and make meaningful changes and contributions within our organisation means that we as an organisation are giving back to employees, recognising their needs, wants, desires, skills, and abilities.
Environmental Committee Initiatives
Our Environmental Committee's focus is as follows:
"It is procurement that has the most positive environmental, social and economic impacts possible across the entire life cycle of goods and services" (Australian Government Sustainable Procurement Guide).
The Environmental Committee oversees and approves all in office purchases and procurement, ensuring and assessing sustainable packaging, re-use or recycle potential, ethical sourcing, environmental impact, and more. Changes implemented thus far include switching to tissues made from bamboo to reduce our ecological footprint.
"Almost 99 percent of everything we buy becomes waste within six weeks of purchase" (Environment Victoria "Why Waste Matters").
Our Environmental Committee is ensuring the reduction of general office waste by providing reasonable re-use and recycle options, reducing the purchase of unneccesary items, and reviewing process to enable the further reduction of office amenity usage. Changes thus far have included the assessment of desk-side waste bins and the implementation of a scrap paper system.
External household recycling options
"The most common reason people don't recycle is lack of access or inconvenience" (Huffington Post "The Psychology Behind Why People Don't Recycle").
Focused on providing recycling options to impact employees' household waste in addition to office waste, a monthly recycling roster has been implemented whereby employees can bring varied items into the office for recycling or donation that do not qualify for curbside recycling. Items include electrical items, clothing and textiles, x-rays, etc.
Our Goals and Commitments
Entrée Recruitment as an organisation has already been on a very successful path towards office sustainability. We successfully cut our printing by two thirds in 2019, compared to 2018. Additionally in 2019 we began collecting REDcycle waste, returning coffee pods for recycling, and purchased microfiber cleaning cloths to replace the need for re-packaged kitchen wipes, spray cleaning products and paper towel. Our Environmental Committee has determined the following goals for 2020:
- Reduce our use of paper for printing by one third through process improvement and adjustment.
- Ensure that 75% of office stationery and supply purchases are ethically sourced and environmentally friendly.
- Reduce office general waste by 50%.
- Educate team members through a weekly "Top Tip" focused around reducing enviromental footprint.
We look forward to tracking the success of the above goals and reporting back to our audience regarding our outcomes.
Overall, we highly reccomend the implementation of some form of environmental committee, or at least sustainability process reviews or initiatives, within your office to increase employee satisfaction as well as environmental sustainability. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have about our experience thus far, and welcome you to share any insights or initiatives you have witnessed within your organisation to aid in our own efforts!