Don’t forget these 4 things when you start your green team at work

One of the most rewarding ways to be your best at work is to be green—and Beatties should know. As one of only a handful of office supply companies in Canada to be certified by the international environmental standard, ISO 14001, Beatties has taken measurable steps to reduce its environmental footprint. We asked Beatties green team member, Brad Steeves, for his advice on how to set up a green team, and what not to forget.


#1 Figure out your purpose. A successful green team will have a clear reason for existing. Do you want to improve your company image? Are you working towards a specific certification? Is there an environmental concern at your company that you want to address? The purpose of the Beatties green team was to get our ISO 14001 certification, since this was being asked for on requests for proposals and quotes from our customers. We had been green for years—doing things like recycling toners, reusing boxes, shredding and recycling paper, double-sided printing—but we didn’t have anything formal and hadn’t measured our performance. We started our green team in 2011 and received our certification the next year.


#2 Invite key people to get involved. Create a diverse green team with representation from key departments. Our member from purchasing helps source environmentally friendly products and improve the purchasing process. Our marketing team member helps reduce printed materials and can move marketing online. Maintenance, warehouse and delivery personnel help us ensure their job duties are performed in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Other office personnel help us increase the efficiency and decrease the waste associated with printing and document control. A successful green team needs champions. Make sure there’s support for the team from the owner or high level executive, and a senior management member sits on the team.


#3 Set a limited number of measurable targets. Beatties sets two new targets every year (and continues to measure the old ones, too). Your targets should dictate where you put your team’s efforts. Our electricity use target, which we set in 2012, meant that we spent a lot of time on a lighting retrofit where we switched all the ballasts and light bulbs to energy efficient ones. It cost around $40,000 but we’ve been saving $1,500 in electricity costs each month since.

#4 Find ways to support and inspire your team. Every team member has day-to-day job responsibilities on top of their green team work, so it helps lighten the load if you join environmental and sustainability groups with a business focus and connect with government resources. If your team is making a difference, these external organizations will often recognize your efforts with awards, too, making the hard work and extra hours worth the effort. Beatties won the Green Team of the Year in 2014 and 2017, the Tulip Award for the greatest greenhouse gas emission in 2016, all from the Niagara Sustainability Initiative.



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