Five lessons learned about encouraging a green workforce

Being ‘green’ comes naturally to ecosurety, as you’d expect, but the recent Big Green Week in Bristol made us think long and hard about how we could engage our team to take it one step further. Here are a few things we learned along the way…  

Keeping it local

It’s easy to wax lyrical about the sustainable benefits of shopping locally, but how do you encourage people to change their behaviour? We decided to put our money where our mouth is and kicked the week off by giving each member of the team a crisp Bristol Pound to spend in our local community, on anything from bus tickets to bananas.

We’re fortunate to have the first city-wide currency in the UK that encourages local trade and helps to build the local economy. Our team have really enjoyed trying it out; discover more about it at bristolpound.org.

Big issues on the big screen

It is undeniably tricky to engage people with sustainability issues, so we decided to run a little experiment. If we screened inspiring TED talks during lunch breaks in our “pop-up-cinema” (otherwise known as the boardroom), how many people would bother turn up and watch it in their free time?

After a couple of days the audience had grown so much that we had a full room with animated discussions continuing long afterwards. Clearly word had spread that it was not to be missed! TED talks that proved to be particularly popular included Alex Steffen: The route to a sustainable future, Tristram Stuart: The global food waste scandal, and Elon Musk: The man behind Tesla, SpaceX, Solar City.

Upping the game

You only have to mention the word ‘competition’ in our office and everyone’s ears prick up. Whether it is baking the yummiest cakes or achieving the lowest MPG we are always striving to be the best. It came as no surprise then that our after-work badminton club had a bumper turnout for Big Green Week as part of our efforts to be a healthier workforce.

The ecosurety badminton club Big Green Week special!

Interestingly, many of our staff have also begun using FitBits (other fitness trackers are available!). They are excellent for personal performance tracking but we’ve discovered they inspire another level of motivation when you compare results and compete against your colleagues. All in all we’re finding a bit of healthy competition goes a long way to get everyone moving!

Reducing the burden

We’ve always been looking for ways to reduce the impact of our inevitable commute to work. Car sharing is a great idea but it needs a big enough pool of sharers to make it work. Luckily Big Green Week encouraged us think a little bit beyond our four walls. 

What would happen if we set up a car-sharing scheme and promoted it not only to our own staff, but beyond our company to the whole of our shared office complex? We’re thrilled to report that many people signed up and registered interest in it, encouraging more of our own team to give it a go. Despite common scepticism, the interest really is there for car-sharing - it has even begun to extend further afield throughout our whole business park. We learnt that you can always think bigger when it comes to more environmentally-friendly commuting.

Growing our own

After discovering that many members of our team hadn’t grown their own food before, we wondered: how many would be willing to get their hands dirty in a grow-your-own workshop? To find out, we simply asked our staff to bring along an upcycled container one day, with soil and seeds provided free of charge.

ecosurety Big Green Week planting workshop

A large proportion of the team joined in, bringing old porcelain jugs, tin cans, milk cartons and egg boxes to use as flower pots. Thanks to some excellent training from our resident expert Ellie, we also managed to get creative and made biodegradable seedling pots out of newspaper. We planted a variety of salad and herb seeds and some small strawberry and lettuce plug plants to take home.

The ecosurety Big Green Week food growing workshopecosurety Big Green Week planting workshop

The workshop was truly enlightening for many members of the team and deemed to be a great success - we only hope the same will be said for our seedlings! You might be surprised to discover how many green fingers there are in your office!

As a competitive bunch there has been a lot of talk about the progress of each other’s plants, so watch this space for updates on our successes…

Olivia Green

Key account manager

Olivia joined Ecosurety in October 2014 as a Graduate account specialist. Now, as a key account manager, her role involves working with our members to provide support across all aspects of the company.

Written by Olivia Green Published 21/07/2015 Topics Sustainability

Useful links

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