What is a Green Team?
A Green Team is a group of staff members who take charge of reducing the organisation’s greenhouse gas emissions and improving environmental performance through:
- reducing energy and water consumption;
- reducing waste and improving recycling and composting;
- advocating for alternative transport and fuels for work vehicles;
- improving the office’s overall practices
Members of a Green Team often volunteer their time, however COOLmob encourages workplaces to formally recognise the role of the Green Team by:
- setting out the goals of the Green Team in their strategic or management plans.
- reporting the performance, results and outcomes in annual reports.
- developing a role description in the position selection criteria when recruiting new staff.
The team is involved directly in sustainability activities and more broadly in encouraging and assisting other staff to ‘do their bit’.
Why start a Green Team?
Electricity and water prices are rising, and the cost of managing waste and transport are also increasing. Reducing the impact of these on your workplace budgets or funding arrangements will give you more time and money to focus on what is important.
A Green Team will be responsible for managing this impact and implementing changes. A Green Team will provide tangible yet sustainable alternatives to an organisation’s business as usual operation and will take charge of contributing more healthy ideas for your work environment.
Step-by-Step Guide to Starting A Green Team
Starting a Green Team is simple. The first step is to identify colleagues who are interested in saving the organisation money and reducing emissions.
- Identify colleagues who are interested in sustainability
- Invite staff to be part of your workplace Green Team.
This can be done by displaying posters, sending out group emails, notifications on the intranet or even simply by word-of-mouth if your organisation is small.
- Obtain management level support.
This is important as it will add credibility to your Green Team and may even assist in securing funding for sustainability initiatives.
- Schedule your first meeting
- At the Green Team’s first meeting establish the Green Team Guidelines or Terms of Reference document.
This will is a brief one-page document describing the purpose and structure of the committee, when it will meet (monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly) and what your meetings cover
- Identify ‘champions’ for each environmental theme. There should be at least an ‘Energy Champion’, ‘Water Champion’, ‘Waste/Recycling Champion’, ‘Purchasing Champion’.
The role of champions is to drive the process of establishing action in each area. Each champion can refer to COOLmob’s fact sheets relevant to their area to help them with ideas on improving the performance in their area.
- Establish the priorities of your Green Team. For instance:
– Reduced Energy Bills
– Reduced organisation wide carbon footprint
– Water Conservation
– Improved Waste Management
- Make sure the priorities you decide on are made transparent to the entire workplace. Display your Green Team Goals on a communal notice board, stick a poster on the staff fridge and send out a workplace-wide email outlining the goals you will be achieving
- Discuss progress.
At each subsequent meeting each champion should discuss the progress towards their area’s priorities.
What will your Green Team do
Each Green Team will have different priorites and structures, depending on the size of the organisation, available funds, level of staff motivation, available funds and available time.
The key however, is that any sized organisation can start a green team and achieve environmental outcomes.
The most important thing for your Green Team to remember while attempting to achieving any environmental outcome is you can’t improve what you can’t measure, so ensure you:
1. RECORD data
2. Set TARGETS for improvement
3. Track PROGRESS
4. Give FEEDBACK