The Why and How of Building a Green Team

Is your tourism business or organization interested in sustainability? If you haven’t already, the first thing you should do is engage your most important resource; your staff. Getting your team involved with or taking the lead role on your green initiatives can create multiple wins.

Why? Businesses that establish and maintain a green team have been shown to:

  1. Attract top talent: Having a green team will help you attract and retain top talent by aligning with the values of potential and current employees. According to a Conference Board of Canada survey, 71% of Canadians want to work for an employer that has commitments to improve their company’s sustainability performance.
  2. Boost employee engagement and morale: Often the people who participate have a strong connection to social and environmental sustainability, and a strong desire to do what’s right and make change for the better within the organization. Engagement can spike if employees are feeling positive about the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. By harnessing their passion, you will be able to get green things done by people who love doing them, reducing turn over and boosting morale among staff who want to see “green” on the company agenda.
  3. Realize ROI: Green Teams can actually help save your company money. Green teams often work to find and implement ways to improve efficiencies, which can have a great return on investment. Besides the payback that can be achieved from technology and policy/procedure changes, team members that have been engaged and educated about why changes are being made will be better stewards of these changes and will actually hold each other accountable.

How? Well, for starters, download our handy guide on How to Establish a Green Team.  The team should include management and key staff from each department or section of the business. The aim is to provide a mechanism for regular reporting and to develop opportunities and delegate responsibilities as well as encourage new ideas. Team members should ideally be willing participants and be given the backing to fulfil their allocated tasks. An agenda should be set for each meeting and new action points decided and acted upon. These should be incorporated into your green action plan.

You might want to start with providing staff environmental training and awareness. Your staff should be trained and aware of sustainable development issues as they relate to the operation of the business as well as for their own roles and responsibilities. The better informed and motivated they are, the more you’ll reap the dividends through efficiency savings.

Beyond carrying out green measures in their daily routine, staff can contribute to the greening process by offering ideas and suggestions. Here are some ways you can raise staff awareness:

  • Welcome green presentation, setting sustainability into context and explaining the mission statement and goals
  • Employee onboarding covering generic and specific role-related actions
  • Ongoing training and efficiency campaigns/policies
  • Staff communication through meetings, newsletters and notice boards
  • Create a Green Department Challenge to encourage each department to green up their operations

Don’t miss out on the tremendous opportunity to create or revitalize a Green Team. The benefits will permeate throughout your operation and help you to take your sustainability performance to the next level.

This is the fifth in a series of articles that is responding directly to what the tourism industry in Canada has identified as its top priorities when it comes to being green.