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Five Steps to Starting a Go Green Program at Work

Go Green

More and more businesses and organizations are choosing to “go green” these days. Once that decision is made, it is important to get this initiative off on the right foot in order to maximize the participation rate and its effectiveness.

Here are five proven steps to incorporate when deciding to “go green”.

1) Determine why your organization is going green
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Having an eco-friendly business is a nice goal to achieve, but it will take many hundreds of man-hours, training, behavior modifications, meetings and costs, so it is important to understand why this decision is being made.

• Is it because your competition has gone green?
• Is it because of some negative press your organization has received in the trade publications or local press?
• Is it because you want to achieve long-term energy savings?
• Is it because you want to practice good corporate social responsibility?

Knowing the true reason(s) for this “go green” initiative is crucial in order to get the program started.

2) Find a Green Team Leader
One of the most crucial steps is choosing the right person to head up this “go green” program. This person should be genuinely interested in green causes and a practitioner of recycling and waste reduction. The VP of Sales that is driving the large extended cab SUV might not be the correct person to become team leader. Ask for volunteers. You will often be pleasantly surprised at the quality of leadership from somebody that is true believer in the green cause. If you get several volunteers, you can always have a green team instead of a single leader.

3) Baby Steps Lead to Big Changes
Inertia is crucial in getting a green program jump started. Start with a recycling program and encourage all departments to participate. Yes, the key word here is “encourage”. A program that is rammed down the throats of participants will not promote true behavioral changes.

Promote the program in workshops, company emails, newsletters, signage, recycled or biodegradable promotional products for participants, logo contests, etc. The best green programs are started off as small grassroots programs that spread throughout an organization through peer pressure, contests and education.

4) Add Activities on a Regular Basis

• Have a “clean up the community” day where your company cleans up trash in a park, lake, beach, stretch of highway or other area.
• Have contests between departments for energy savings, most paper recycled, switching to green-friendly vendors, etc.
• Reward winners with eco-friendly water bottles, tote bags, organic polo shirts or t-shirts and other green promotional items that will be visible to the entire company.
• Earth Day programs at schools
• Keep program active and fun—and visible

5) Expand the Program with Management Initiatives

Only after the program has gained sufficient momentum should management be brought in to add more meaningful goals to the program, such as:
• Mandating that 10-15% of all vendors be “green suppliers”
• Ensuring that all paper used be recycled
• Installing solar panels on the rooftop
• Switching to a more energy efficient ac/heating system
• Reducing corporate travel
• Car pooling bonuses
• Green volunteering time-off
• Switching to more work-at-home

Going green can bring substantial benefits to a company—both quantifiable and such “feel good” benefits as goodwill, teamwork, better community status, etc. Getting these five steps in place will maximize the effectiveness of your program, helping you to go green better and faster.

Here’s to a greener planet.

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Robert Piller is President of EcoMarketingSolutions.com, which helps companies that are “going green” to better promote and market their brand. His web site includes a comprehensive eco-friendly advertising specialty search, featuring over 25,000 eco promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find recyclable, biodegradable, organic or recycled imprinted promotional items in any price range and time frame. View the Go Green website at EcoMarketingSolutions.com and comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com.

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