SIM Social Impact Movement

5 Ways to Make Your Organization More Sustainable

Author: Gabi Jonikas

Chances are, you’re interested in making your organization more sustainable. Most people are interested in shrinking their carbon footprint and running an organization that does not have a negative impact on the Earth. It can be difficult to know where to start on your quest for sustainability, however. Unfortunately, it can be easy to run an unsustainable and harmful organization if you are not conscious of all the ways your organization could contribute to climate change. The good news is, there are concrete things you can do to improve your organization’s sustainability. Although opening a dialogue in the workplace and teaching all of your employees about the importance of sustainability is important, you’ll need to follow through and make the changes. Here are five ways you can do so.

1. Go Paperless

One thing contributing to climate change is the amount of paper used. Not just the paper you do your paperwork with, but toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, and any other paper products provided for your employees. Going paperless can include doing paperwork digitally, but you can’t forget about those other forms of paper being used regularly. Sustainable toilet paper, replacing paper towels with hand dryers, and removing paper towels or napkins are good next steps to remove as much paper from your workplace as you can. Going paperless is not only good for the environment, but saves space, time, and prevents waste, all of which can help your organization.

2. Use Electronics Sustainably

Going paperless naturally leads to an increase in the use of electronics, so it’s important to remember that your use of technology needs to be sustainable, too. Sustainable technology can include implementing solar panels or renewable energy to provide electricity and power, rather than fossil fuels. Sustainability in electronics can also include special sustainable light bulbs, recycled lamination over windows to prevent the need for air conditioning, and sustainable heaters. Using electronics sustainably does not have to be expensive, and can even save money by preventing a need to spend money on, for example, as much heat as you might have needed before coating your windows.

3. Sustainable Cleaning Supplies

One thing that can have a significant impact on the environment is chemicals, and there are many harmful chemicals in inexpensive cleaning supplies, not to mention the amount of plastic used to hold cleaning supplies, only to be thrown away and replaced frequently. When something as large as an office building needs to be cleaned, it makes sense to want to buy the most inexpensive cleaning supplies possible. Luckily, there is a solution both sustainable and inexpensive. There are now tablets on the market that you can drop in a reusable bottle of water to create your own cleaning supplies, again and again. These tablets are sustainable because they save plastic, but also because they save water. The cleaning supplies you buy are mostly water, and the amount of water transported to stores in the form of cleaning supplies is very unsustainable. Buying some make-your-own cleaning supply tablets is less expensive and less harmful.

4. Remote Work

Remote work has obviously increased greatly during the pandemic. Although this transition has been difficult for some forms of work, there are always positions in organizations that do not technically need to be in person to do their job. If some of your organization’s employees only come to work in-person in order to sit in an office on their computer all day, they could easily do that work at home. Offering remote work as a choice is a sustainable act because the less people you require to come into the office, the less electricity, paper, and unsustainable supplies you will need to use. There’s no need to encourage remote work for positions that need to be in-person, but there’s also no need to encourage in-person work for positions that could easily be completed remotely.

5. Encouraging Accountability

The best thing that you can do to promote sustainability in your organization is to hold every person accountable. Your cleaning staff should be expected to use sustainable cleaning supplies, your office workers should be expected to use the least amount of paper they possibly can, and your higher level employees should be expected to make sustainable choices in their management jobs. No organization can be successful in sustainability if everyone is not on the same page and working toward the same goal of helping the planet. So long as everyone understands the importance of sustainability, and competent leaders are able to explain exactly how sustainability in your unique organization can be achieved, your organization can make the necessary steps to be sustainable.