Softchoice Cares returning to Rajasthan, India in October

For over 10 years, Softchoice Cares has worked to ‘bridge the digital divide’ in communities across North America and places around the world. We believe that access to technology opens up a world of possibilities for disadvantaged families – particularly children – to learn and develop new skills, and break the cycle of poverty. [Read more…]

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…]

Bring Lunch to Work Day

The project I am currently working on for the Softchoice GreenTeam is arranging a day where everyone brings their lunch to work or uses some kind of green transportation to get their lunch.  For the purpose of the day though I am asking that everyone either walks or bikes to go out to lunch in order to maximize the effect of the day.  Even though there are green cars or taking a bus etc we can make an even bigger difference just by walking.

Some of the challenges I am running into are  finding a day that works for all of our offices and then finding a way to get participation.  Also, since I am only in the Chicago office and the rest of

By eating at our desk Softchoice can take a lot of cars off the road.

the GreenTeam is in the Toronto office, how can we make sure everyone else is participating?  I first thought that by choosing a day in the winter that people would be more likely to bring in a lunch and stay in the office.  Now I am thinking that since even I don’t like packing my own lunch maybe I should have it sooner than later so that people can catch a nice day to walk somewhere.

With our main branches being Toronto, Chicago, Seattle and Atlanta I don’t really have concerns with getting people to meet up for lunch together in a green way but I am a little concerned about our smaller sales offices.  Softchoice has quite a few offices with only 2 sales people in them.  How can we keep tabs on them?  Hopefully everyone will see the purpose behind the day and join in with our green efforts.  I would love for this to be so successful that we can have it every year.

I will update this as I schedule a day and with any thing we do to encourage participation.  Wish me luck.

5 Steps to Starting Your Own Office Composting Program

Starting a composting program at your office can be challenging, but if you follow these simple guidelines you can set yourself up for a successful program.

  1. Find a stainless steel bucket you can keep on your office’s kitchen countertop. Stainless steel is easy to clean and wont absorb color or odor from foods.
  2. Post signage up to let everyone know what can and can’t go inside the container.
  3. Arrange to have your container emptied on a daily basis into a large bintote and store it somewhere dark and dry. A Janitorial or storage closet works well as a storage space.
  4. Find out when your city recycling and composting pickups are scheduled – if you are in an office building check with your landlord as your garbage pickups could be from a private contractor. Find out the costs associated with arranging weekly pickups.
  5. Schedule your compost pickups at least once per week, keep your bins clean by using a biodegradable liner or requesting your bin gets exchanged for a clean one every week.

To maintain a successful composting program remind your fellow employees what a positive impact they are having on the environment and that by composting they are reducing their carbon footprint.

Have you tried composting in your office? How did it work?

Corporations get a thumbs down on green?

The corporate sector has gone to great lengths in recent years to persuade consumers of its commitment to environmental sustainability. But consumers aren’t buying it, to judge by the results of a study released this month by Gibbs & Soell Public Relations.

Here are some of the top findings:

– only 16 percent of consumers said they believe most or all businesses are committed to ‘going green’

– When asked to identify “the barriers, if any, to more businesses ‘going green,'” 71 percent of the survey’s executives cited “consumers’ unwillingness to pay a premium for green products or services.”

So the consumers doubt the corporations commitment to going green, and businesses doubt the consumers commitment to purchasing green. So are we at a stand still?

Read more about the results.

Greening our customer communications

I love the fact that at Softchoice, our green efforts are more than just lip service – we all genuinely care about our planet and I see it every day. But sometimes you have to talk to people to get them excited.  We have conversations with hundreds of people daily about their IT needs.  But what about lessening their environmental footprint as well?

I’m working on a couple of marketing campaigns this year to share some ideas with our customers on ways to green their IT organizations. Do you have any ideas on what Green IT topics we should discuss?  I’d love to hear them.