CSR Programs: Why some thrive and others nose-dive.

Your sustainability plan isn’t worth a beaver dam if your employees aren’t engaged in the strategy.

Just like the hard-working beaver, employee commitment makes a huge difference in the environment!

This year when Softchoice was named to Canada’s Green 30, I wondered if there was a common thread among the organizations recognized. After reading more about them, I found that their employees’ feedback not only put them on the list, but employee involvement is driving the success of their sustainability programs.

This isn’t surprising. As with many workplaces, engaged employees are the internal change agents, fueling innovation and success of many programs. According to GreenResearch’s 2012 Annual Sustainability Executive Survey, staff engagement is one of the top two sustainability trends for 2012 – simply because “engaged employees make things happen”. They are the “make-it-or-break-it” factor. [Read more…]

It IS Easy Being Green: Tips to More Sustainable Catering

Kermit the frog is known for one particularly famous line: “It ain’t easy being green”.

This may be the case for Kermit but when it comes to being environmentally ‘green’ – it really can be easy.

As a Seneca Green Intern over the past few months, part of my placement was to support Softchoice with sustainability-related initiatives. During this time, I attended a few of the company’s Lunch ‘n’ Learns and noticed that Softchoice offers tasty meals for employees to enjoy when they learn about the latest and greatest in the IT world.  Unfortunately, like many catered meetings, they tend to produce large amounts of waste – plates, cutlerly, containers and leftover food. [Read more…]

Everybody’s working for the weekend

The five o’clock stampede thunders through offices across the county. People to eager to start their weekend or evening , to catch their train, liberate little ones from daycare leave their workstations in a hurry. Many of them not taking the time to power down their workstations. This uses up a lot of energy unnecessarily – increasing energy costs and unnecessarily burdening the power grid.

It happens everywhere – so if your organization is facing this you are not alone. We found an article in the ITAM review about energy expended through desktops being left on and things you can do to alleviate the pressure. For instance, printers can also be shut off during non productive hours and like PCs and certain servers … read more.

Full Recycling Participation

Lately I have been working late a lot in order to stay on top of everything which can be good for our Chicago office.  When I am the last one to leave at night I like to go around and make sure computer monitors and the lights are turned off.  However, I have started noticing something recently that has me wondering…

 Have you ever worked late enough in your office for the nightly clean up crew to come in?  They go from floor to floor and company to company in our building collecting garbage, vacuuming or doing whatever else needs to be done.  A few nights ago “being green” got the best of me and I couldn’t help but wonder…Do they turn off the lights when they leave?  What kinds of chemicals do they use to clean everything?  And one question that I have been stuck on the most is, when they collect the trash and the recycling, are they keeping is separate?  This one really bothers me. 

In the end it seems as though we can only do so much as a company to recycle such as putting out separate bins and educating our employees on why this is something important.  But when it really comes down to everything being taken out how do we know if they are staying in separate bins or going into the same trash can that goes around on the cleaning cart? 

I am going to start paying closer attention on those nights that I work late and I would encourage everyone else to do so as well.  Without 100% participation and education from everyone our efforts would all be wasted.  How can we may sure we are fully green from top to bottom?

Save your energy for Monday morning

Are your coworkers ending their days and starting their weekends by turning off their PCs? It’s an easy way to lower your carbon footprint and there are solutions available ranging from management systems you can buy to the tried and true method of clicking on the Windows logo.

But what about your servers? Ever wondered how much energy you’d save over a weekend if you turned off under-used servers during your off hours?  Software company IE is working on a server version of their management solution for PCs. They are inching closer to helping companies reduce their carbon footprint with a fail-safe power management system for the data center.  Read more.

Look around – there are office supplies everywhere!

Have you ever found a handful of pens under your couch? Or guiltily eyed a stack of paper in your recycle bin? Giving them new life as office supplies is green and saves money.  Here are a couple of ideas for reusing supplies:

– Pens: think about those hotel pens you bring home from conventions. Or the ones you find when you are packing to move.  You can bring them into the office and stock them in the supply cabinet (the Delta hotels ones are from me!)

 Notepads: instead of using new paper for quick notes or mapping out ideas, why not use the back of your printouts. If you’d like to get “extra fancy” you can cut them down to 5 x 7″ pieces and attach with a binder clip.

– Paperclips: have you even been annoyed by paperclips on old documents? They are great for reusing and are more green than staples (nevermind they don’t wreck your nails when removing them!)

– Plants: we all know the benefit of plants in the office. What about throwing a “house-warming” party for new team members and give a plant for their desk as a gift?  Or put leftover fresh herbs in a vase with   your  bamboo plant to clean up the air even more (not to mention a delicious way to spruce up your lunch!)

Got anymore ideas? Send them to the Green Team – we are working on a Green Your Desk campaign and would love to be able to share your ideas with your colleages.