How to Build a Green Team: The First Step to Sustainability

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The best place to start building a sustainable company is by collecting a group of individuals in your organization who have some passion about the topic of green or the environment. Let’s call it your Green Team. But before launching this team, here are some ground rules to ensure success.

Rules of the Green Team

To begin on the path to corporate environmental responsibility, it is important to begin with a frank, executive-level discussion about where you are and where you want to be. Not every company will want to transform its business model to begin offering eco-friendly cars and renewable energy. However, it is possible that every company could fix the basics and take steps toward reducing its impact on the world.

Rule 1: Executive support – One member of the team must be from the executive staff to show not only executive buy-in but also have access to the management team so that decisions can be made quickly. The goal of this group member is to:

• Listen openly to ideas from the team
• Guide discussions toward actionable plans
• Set expectations for direction of the team and funding

Rule 2: Commitment – The executive team must commit to reviewing the suggestions and discoveries of the team with the intention to take action. All your employees will be watching the actions of this team. If every idea is swatted down by management, then you may be doing more harm than good to morale. Make sure that this team is empowered to make real change in your organization.

Rule 3: Diversity – Other members of the team should be from different divisions and groups and hold positions. Have one person from sales, operations, manufacturing/quality, human resources, accounting and maybe even the receptionist. You can designate these members or ask for volunteers to get the most passionate and engaged people involved in your team.

Rule 4: Size – Limit the size of the team to 10 to 12 people. While this number may seem small for very large organizations, it is very difficult to get anything accomplished in very large teams. However, while the team is small, it is possible to have the delegate from manufacturing create his own small team in his group to give him ideas to bring back to the group.

Rule 5: Unleash the creativity of your people – This is one excellent opportunity to tap the resources that companies spend billions to recruit and retain. Encourage the team to think of creative ideas to reduce waste and energy or increase the durability of products. Make it clear that this is not just a cost-cutting exercise but a way to increase the value of your products while having an impact on the planet.

A green team can have a variety of stakeholders and projects.  A great tool to engage stakeholders and increase communication is the Collaborative Project Portal. This tool not only provides a place for conversation but also has resources and experts that can help you along.

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