“No excuse” for not being green

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Organizations already have all the tools they need to reduce their footprint and better protect the environment – that’s the message from one sustainability expert who says employers just need to know where to look.

“There is a very simple way for employers to promote environmental responsibility and that’s by joining the WWF Living Planet @ Work program,” says Frances Edmonds, head of sustainability at HP Canada.

The firm – hailed as the most environmentally responsible IT company in Canada – helped establish the free program more than five years ago. Now, it provides strategic guidance, green business ideas, and free tools and support to over 1,300 enrolees.

“We made it free on purpose because we wanted the barrier to entry to be as low as possible to get people started on doing the basics that they need to do in their businesses,” Edmonds told HRM.

“Anybody, anywhere – from the janitor to the VP of HR – can take these resources and run with them,” she continued. “There is everything that they need – examples of emails, how to set up a campaign, thank you letters, peer mentoring – all the expertise and learning we have had over the many years that we’ve been doing this is in there free for the taking.”

Toronto-based Edmonds says employers can look forward to a whole host of benefits once they bolster their sustainability efforts.
“Certainly when you first start these programs, there is always some low hanging fruit to be had that will save you money immediately,” she told HRM.

“A great example would be many companies still only print on one side of the paper – changing that can save up to 50 per cent of the paper and nobody really cares if they print on both sides or not, it’s just the way it’s always been.”

Edmonds, who’s been with HP for almost 20 years, says environmental friendly employers will also be more attractive to new recruits and current employees.

“Sustainability programs play a very significant role in attracting and retaining employees and then engaging those employees while they’re at work,” she told HRM.

“I’d say if you want to keep the best workers, if you want to attract the best workers coming out of school, if you want to lower your operating costs and you want to stay in business long term you need to be thinking about these things very seriously,” she continued.

“People are very passionate about this space and it’s just such a wonderful opportunity to do good, protect the planet, boost your business and engage your employees at the same time,” she stressed.  “And if it’s free resources for you, there is no excuse.”

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