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How to build a culture of sustainability in the workplace

How to build a culture of sustainability in the workplace

As more research is done into sustainability and our impact on the planet, more shocking discoveries come to the fore. For example; a plastic bag on average is used for only 12 minutes, but after it’s discarded, it takes 1,000 years to decompose[1].

These shocking discoveries, while worrying, are also helping to increase awareness over the impact we have on the environment. As such, making more sustainable choices and implementing eco-friendly initiatives is on the rise in the workplace.

Recycling more and finding sustainable alternatives to materials such as plastic is vital. But what can a business do to encourage and fully engage employees with sustainability?

What is a culture of sustainability?

It’s not enough to simply tell employees to be eco-friendly. To create change, a culture of sustainability needs to be fostered in the work place.

By creating a culture of sustainability, employees will invest and believe in the importance of this and change their behaviour and habits to reflect that.

Creating a culture

A culture of sustainability can see positive impact, but how do you create that culture?

While many people have good intentions and want to do more to help the environment, often a busy working life can get in the way of making sustainable choices. Our brains have a limited cognitive capacity and there is only so much information we can process. As a result, we subconsciously avoid anything that seems a hassle and instead default to simplicity. The demands of everyday work mean that the office sustainability initiative could easily slip to the back of employee’s minds. So how does a business change that?

Make it simple

By making it easier to choose sustainable options an office could see a shift towards increased sustainability and more eco-conscious employees.

For example, a simple change such as making the recycling bin a push pedal and leaving the general waste bin with a lift lid will see people recycling more as it’s the easier option.

Providing easy access to great tasting water is also an effective way to cut down on single-use plastic water bottles in the office.

At Zip, our range of drinking water solutions provide refreshing filtered chilled, boiling and sparkling water, offering a simpler and more sustainable option to damaging single-use plastic bottles. With the HydroTap’s MicroPurity filtration technology, employees have instant access to water with 25 times better filtration than a standard water jug. Staff will no longer need to spend money buying bottled water with Zip’s pure-tasting water at their fingertips

Make it fun

When an activity is fun, people are more motivated to take part. And there’s lots you can do to create fun when it comes to sustainability.

For example, why not have a recycling competition within the office? Floors or departments can compete against each other to see who has recycled the most by the end of each month, with the winning team receiving a prize.

Setting goals

People react well when they can see that progress is being made. Try and set some small and achievable sustainability goals. If people can visualise the positive impact they are making, they are more likely to continue to be engaged by the initiative.

With these simple changes, you can easily begin to create a culture of sustainability in the office which will result in a greener workforce and business.


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