Employers and employees care about the environment more than ever - check out how the 'green' phenomenon is affecting standard business practices.
According to the Green Business Network®, green companies care about issues such as sustainability, public health, and social justice. They make it a priority to practice sustainable business operations, use green innovations that are both safe and earth-friendly, and empower employees to make a positive difference in their communities.
Over a third of employees working for environmentally-responsible companies said that green programs boosted morale. Click to Tweet!
Who cares about green innovations in business practices?
These days, employees care about the environment more than ever, and some may specifically seek green careers or companies that implement green innovations to the work environment. An overwhelming majority of workers (73%) said that their employer’s environmental responsibility was “somewhat or very important.” In fact, 39% of employees said they were “very likely” to stay in their current jobs because of their companies’ environmentally-responsible programs. And over a third of employees working for environmentally-responsible companies said that green programs boosted morale.
In short, green innovations improved employees’ attitudes about their jobs and employers. And HR reps said green programs can have positive benefits like improving company image, attracting customers, and boosting employee loyalty. There are a number of great reasons to implement earth-friendly practices, but according to the Society for Human Resources Management, both HR reps and employees agreed that good corporate citizenship was the #1 driver of green business policies.
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Millennials, or those born between 1982 and 2002, may be leading the charge when it comes to greener workplaces. According to Sustainable Brands, a staggering 80% of 13-to-25-year-olds wish to work for an employer that cares about environmental impact. With as many as 4 million millennials entering the workforce each year, businesses must consider how to attract and retain a new generation of workers who are passionate about corporate responsibility and sustainability. And since roughly a third of millennials value meaningful work as an important job factor, helping these young workers feel good about their jobs is critical!
How do businesses implement green innovations?
One easy way businesses can reduce their environmental impact is by shutting off office equipment on nights and weekends. Click to Tweet!
There are many ways businesses can introduce earth-friendly practices – from high-tech green innovations like the Smart Grid to low-tech recycling bins. Green innovations don’t have to be complicated or expensive! One easy way businesses can reduce their environmental impact is by shutting off office equipment on nights and weekends. According to research by the University of Cambridge, turning off a single copier overnight can conserve the amount of energy required to heat thirty cups of tea! Even if you’re not that thirsty, consider that long-term energy savings can be significant when lights and equipment are powered down after hours . Changing out the bulbs in office light fixtures could be another easy fix: By replacing just one incandescent bulb with an energy-efficient fluorescent one, 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions can be prevented. Imagine the positive benefits of replacing every bulb in the office!
In 2010, there were an impressive 3.1 million green careers in the United States! Click to Tweet!
Employee behaviors can also have a major impact on a company’s sustainability. For instance, consider how employees get to work. Commuting in a mid-size car could create over 1.3 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year from fuel use alone, as reported by the Bike to Work initiative. Two coworkers who carpool together can cut those emissions in half, and employees who choose to bike to work eliminate fuel emissions altogether!
Employees can also choose to bring refillable water bottles to work instead of purchasing drinks in disposable containers.Fortunately, some workplaces install hands-free filtered water systems to help employees stay hydrated the eco-friendly way. Other workplace solutions to foster good employee habits include recycling initiatives, encouraging paper conservation, and fun activities like corporate clean-up days.
Finally, some green companies build earth-friendly (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or “LEED”) offices from the ground up. LEED-certified green spaces are built with renewable materials and designed to be energy efficient. Green office spaces may feature less toxic materials and finishes that keep air clean and reduce unpleasant odors.
But even if your company doesn’t have a LEED-certified office, it’s still possible to make your workplace greener. Choosing energy-efficient equipment, compact fluorescent bulbs, and green cleaning products might be a good place to start.
What kinds of jobs are green?
In 2010, there were an impressive 3.1 million green careers in the United States! If you’re hoping to pursue a job that gives you the opportunity to help the earth, there may be a number of environmental career paths worth checking out.
- Forest and Conservation Technicians help conserve soil, water, forests, and other natural resources, while Environmental Engineers help develop solutions for environmental issues like waste disposal and pollution control.[ii]
- Urban Planners help design, develop, and revitalize urban areas, while managing issues like population growth. [iii]
- Civic Engineers may play an important role in both urban and corporate sustainability; possible duties include designing green structures that reduce pollution and carbon emissions.[iv]
If you’d like to improve sustainability on a corporate level, you may have some career path options.
- Occupational Health and Safety Specialists help protect workers, the environment, and the public by performing duties like air quality testing, workplace safety inspection, or prevention of biological hazards, radiation, and other dangers. [v]
- Chief Sustainability Officers typically plan and direct sustainability strategies for large companies. [vi]
- Industrial Production Managers oversee manufacturing activities while finding ways to reduce waste or improve production practices. [vii]
These are just a few of the green career paths that may be available. And keep in mind that any profession can be a little greener if you take action to promote an earth-friendly workplace!
Seeking a green career – or an employer who cares about the environment as much as you do – could be a great way to have a positive impact in your community. Working for a company whose values are aligned with your own can feel great! And for employers hoping to attract the best and brightest employees, going green might be a big advantage. The good news is that every company can make a difference. Anyone can takes steps, no matter how small, toward a greener, cleaner, and more beautiful world!
[i]bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ggqcew.pdf [ii].bls.gov/ooh/farming-fishing-and-forestry/forest-and-conservation-workers.htm [iii]bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/urban-and-regional-planners.htm [iv]bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm [v]bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-health-and-safety-specialists.htm [vi]bls.gov/green/sustainability/sustainability.htm [vii]bls.gov/ooh/management/industrial-production-managers.htm