Building Effective Green Teams at Work: Creating a Sustainable Workplace Culture with 8 Effective Strategies & Tactics

Green Team Lunch

In this article you will read:

  • The Role of a Green Team
  • Setting up your Green Team; How to get started 
  • 8 Effective Strategies and Tactics 
  • Bringing it all together

In today’s fast-paced corporate world, the demand for sustainability and eco-conscious practices has grown significantly. To meet the challenge of becoming a more environmentally friendly organization, medium to large-sized companies are taking action by forming Green Teams.  

Green Teams are groups of employees who are dedicated to promoting and implementing environmentally-friendly practices within the organization. Their goal is to drive positive environmental change, reduce the company’s ecological footprint, and contribute to a more sustainable future. Employees across various departments can join the green team voluntarily. Participation may involve attending meetings, contributing ideas, and actively participating in green initiatives.

Here’s how people typically interact with green teams in companies:

The Role of a Green Team

Zero Waste Office Meals, A practice implemented by Green Teams At Quickbooks

Green teams often serve as hubs for brainstorming and proposing new environmentally-conscious ideas and strategies. Employees can interact by suggesting innovative ways to reduce waste, conserve energy, or implement sustainable practices in daily operations. 

Interactions with green teams vary depending on the company’s size, culture, and commitment to sustainability. Engaging with a green team provides employees with an opportunity to contribute positively to the environment and foster a sense of responsibility and community within the organization.

The role of a workplace Green Team encompasses 3 key domains: 

  1. Promoting a Sustainable Culture and Raising Awareness: Green Teams excel at building a strong sense of camaraderie among employees and raising awareness about sustainable practices. Through team-building activities that have an eco-friendly twist, they foster a sense of collective responsibility toward the environment, making the company’s ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) goals more approachable and achievable when tackled together. These teams also facilitate interactions that include workshops, seminars, and informative materials, educating employees about the importance of sustainable practices, the company’s environmental goals, and effective ways to create a positive impact.
  1. Implementing & Tracking Sustainable Practices: Green Teams actively participate in devising and implementing sustainable practices throughout the organization, aligned with their companies’ ESG targets. They collaborate with different departments to coordinate efforts and integrate sustainable practices into their workflows, seeking out opportunities to implement initiatives like reducing waste, promoting recycling, and embracing renewable resources.
    • Green teams often track and analyze environmental metrics, such as energy consumption, waste generation, emissions and gathering feedback for improvement. Employees can provide data and information to support these efforts.
  1. Managing Suppliers and Cost: Green Teams actively search for suppliers that align with the company’s sustainable values (low waste, minimal carbon footprint etc.). They can do this while still ensuring costs are kept down, and budgets are maintained.
A group of team members at a Zero Waste Dine & Learn Event created to attract people interested in sustainability.

Setting up your Green Team

To get started: 

  1. Form a Dedicated Core Team: Begin by identifying a group of enthusiastic employees and assigning them specific responsibilities. Regardless of their background or experience, prioritize individuals who share a passion for sustainability. Embrace their diverse perspectives and insights. Below, you will find practical suggestions aimed at jumpstarting the process of identifying your core team.
  1. Inclusive Engagement: Extend involvement beyond the core team. Reach out to a diverse array of staff members across various departments and levels. While they might have limited time to contribute, their unique viewpoints can enrich discussions and provide valuable ideas and feedback.
  1. Guided Transformation: Employ effective change management techniques to steer your Green Team’s journey. Online resources abound in the realm of Change Management, offering guidance on program definition, fostering awareness, cultivating desire and urgency, and implementing swift and impactful changes within your workplace.

By following these steps, you’ll set your Green Team on a path toward success, harnessing the collective power of dedicated individuals and fostering a culture of sustainability within your organization.

8 Strategies and Tactics 

Throughout your journey implementing this change toward a greener workplace, it is always a good idea to break things into smaller pieces or focus areas. 

  1. Identifying your core team.

Identifying a group of enthusiastic employees who are passionate about sustainability in your company involves a combination of observation, communication, and engagement. Here are steps to help you find and gather such individuals:

  • Promote Interest and Awareness: Start by raising awareness about sustainability initiatives within your company. Communicate the importance of environmental responsibility and the benefits it brings to both the organization and the planet. This can be done through emails, newsletters, workshops, and internal communications.
  • Seek Volunteers: Open up opportunities for employees to express their interest in participating in sustainability efforts. Invite them to volunteer or express their passion for sustainability through surveys or open calls.
  • Engage in Informal Conversations: Engage in casual conversations with colleagues and pay attention to those who show genuine excitement and curiosity about sustainability topics. Discuss recent environmental news, initiatives, or projects and observe who expresses interest and enthusiasm.
  • Leverage Intranet or Collaboration Tools: Create a space on your company’s intranet or collaboration platform where employees can share their interest in sustainability. Encourage them to post ideas, articles, or resources related to environmental initiatives.
  • Partner with HR: Collaborate with the Human Resources department to identify employees who have participated in previous sustainability initiatives, community service projects, or have shown a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility.
  • Departmental Recommendations: Reach out to department heads or managers to ask for recommendations of employees who have displayed an interest in sustainability. They may have noticed individuals who have taken steps to reduce waste or initiate eco-friendly practices within their teams.
  • Host Workshops or Events: Organize workshops, seminars, or events focused on sustainability. Observe attendees who actively participate, ask questions, and engage in discussions. These individuals may have a genuine interest in the topic.
  • Recognize and Celebrate Efforts: Acknowledge and celebrate employees who are already practicing sustainability. Highlight their efforts in company-wide communications or meetings, and encourage others to follow their example.

Remember, passion for sustainability can manifest in various ways, from active participation in environmental initiatives to sharing ideas for improvement. By creating an environment that encourages open dialogue and engagement, you’ll be more likely to identify and gather employees who are truly enthusiastic about making a positive impact on the environment.

2. Fostering Behavioural Change

The crux lies in fostering behavioural change. This principle requires a compassionate and non-judgmental approach to understanding people, as each individual holds their own unique environmental perspectives and motivating needs. By understanding behavioural change theories, your Green Team can design strategies for lasting change. Behavioral change theories emphasize several key principles. 

  1. First, they highlight the significance of setting clear and achievable goals, as specific objectives provide direction and motivation for change. 
  2. Second, they stress the importance of self-efficacy, which is a person’s belief in their ability to succeed in making desired changes. 
  3. Third is the role of reinforcement, both positive and negative, in shaping and sustaining new behaviors. 
  4. Fourth, these theories underscore the influence of social and environmental factors on behavior, acknowledging that interactions with others and the surrounding context greatly impact individual actions. 
  5. Lastly, remember, change is a gradual process and often involves stages of readiness, such as pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. 

By understanding and applying these principles, Green Teams can effectively design interventions and strategies to promote lasting behavioral change in their organizations. If you don’t know where to start, ask us at Inwit! We facilitate discussions on the topic. 

3. Sustainability Goals and Tracking: Companies facing pressure to meet sustainability targets can rely on Green Teams to set realistic objectives and track performance. Utilizing software and apps that measure carbon reduction efforts can help monitor progress effectively. Obtaining reports from subcontractors and ensuring all scopes of emissions are captured maintains authenticity and transparency.

Note: Inwit can provide impact reports which showcase the amount of waste your team prevented and the GHG emissions avoided when choosing zero-waste catering! By sharing these goals and impacts with all employees, you can create a culture of sustainability. The Green Team can help foster an environment where sustainability becomes the work of everyone, and successes are celebrated.  

4. Eco-Friendly Events: Speaking of celebration, organizing a meet-up for all employees (or just your department) to come together and celebrate achievements is a great way to spread awareness and commitment to sustainability. One of the most common frustrations when organizing a workplace event can be around managing the catering for this event. It is difficult to ensure food quality, on-time deliveries, and the waste created can create more work and diminish the commitment to sustainability. To address this, Green Teams can collaborate with trusted catering partners, such as Inwit, who prioritize locally sourced, organic, and circularity in their packaging practices (eg. reuse and recycling). 

5. Transitioning Back to the Office: Events are not the only way to bring people back to the office! The Green Teams can help ease the transition back to the office or in-person events by creating a welcoming and eco-friendly environment. As sustainability becomes increasingly important to people around the globe, employees want their company, and their office environment to reflect their personal commitments. So inspire them! This could include introducing awareness programs (with tips and fun competitions aimed at carbon reduction), introducing circularity in everyday life at work (reusable utensils for instance), and providing space to gather ideas for a greener workspace.

6. Waste Management: Kickstart a greener workspace with better waste management. Your Green Team can foster waste reduction and circularity, pushing for reusable solutions and reducing single-use packaging. Green Teams can also reach even further by re-imagining the whole value chain and investigating where things are sourced from and where materials go at the end of their life!

7. Balancing Cost and Sustainability: Finding cost-effective yet eco-friendly options can be challenging. Green Teams should proactively explore partnerships with local vendors who prioritize sustainability and offer budget-friendly choices.

Bringing it all together

Creating Green Teams within medium to large-sized organizations like yours is an essential step toward achieving sustainability goals and building a greener future. By involving employees from various generations and roles, Green Teams can tap into diverse perspectives, ideas, and expertise to implement sustainable practices effectively. They play a vital role in fostering a collaborative, inclusive, and environmentally conscious workplace that attracts top talent, keeps teams happy, and aligns with the company’s values.

Ultimately, Green Teams are at the forefront of driving change within organizations, paving the way for a brighter, more sustainable future for both the company and the planet. By overcoming challenges, advocating for greener choices, and living out the values of the company day-to-day, these teams are instrumental in creating a positive impact on the environment while ensuring the company remains an attractive and desirable place to work. Through their dedication and efforts, they lead the way toward a more sustainable and eco-conscious corporate world!

Written by Erika Reyes

Co-Founder, President and Chief Growth Office at Inwit

An entrepreneur and an environmentalist by accident who is spearheading the transition towards a circular economy right here in Toronto.

Have you heard about Inwit?

We are revolutionizing the way companies approach lunch breaks with our innovative waste-free office meals service. We’ve partnered up with the best restaurants in town and we deliver their mouthwatering dishes in reusable packaging in a carbon-free way. By delivering in a carbon-neutral manner, we prioritize both your taste buds and the environment. Learn more about us here


Join the Sustainability Revolution

Elevate Your Office Dining. Transform your office into a sustainability and culinary excellence hub with our sustainable office catering