Launching a Green Committee in Your Office!


Posted by Matt Cardoni, Account Director I’ve heard I put the “mental” in environmental. I’m passionate about the cause and get truly excited when I get the opportunity to share what I know; and engage in what I consider progress towards sustainability. So, I was thrilled to discover Performics’ “can-do” culture that includes an open door policy to starting new clubs on company time to promote a cause you believe in. Two years ago I launched the Performics Green Committee. We call ourselves the Planeteers. April’s Earth Month doesn’t begin or end opportunities for your company to practice a sustainable green work culture. It is a year-round effort! One way to facilitate green growth in your office is to launch a green committee. This post is intended to be an inspirational and educational DIY guide for anyone who wants to start a green committee at their office. I feel our green club at Performics is effective and fun. I’m impressed with the team’s work, so I wanted to share a few insights on what’s helped our committee succeed. Tips:

  1. Just do it. Progress occurs over time, and starting the ball rolling is step 1. If you want to make a difference, start the club today! Put regular meetings on the calendar (we do it biweekly), and even if it’s just you at those meetings, it provides structured time to focus on green initiatives and plan the next project.
  2. Plan events to garner interest. Our most attended meetings are right after a successful event or project. Market your events beforehand and advertise the results.
  3. Make the meetings fun! No one likes a boring meeting (especially me ). Bring a flower with a mustache on it if you have to. (And then give it to me immediately.)
  4. Collaborate with other green teams. The green team at Digitas, one of our sister agencies, gave us some fantastic ideas like using Terra Cycle, an awesome organization that helps your office gather employees’ old electronics, repurpose and recycle them, and then provides money that your office can donate to a charity. Brilliant!
  5. Document your efforts. Being able to reference your past successes is very helpful in preserving value.

Regardless of where your office is, there is a community of like-minded people who want to make a difference. Tap into that community and ask for help. Some examples of resources we found to be particularly helpful include: ChicagoGreenOfficeChallenge.com is a free contest that pits your office in a friendly competition with other offices and provides a checklist of 100 ideas your office can do to reduce its carbon footprint. This program provides a structure, timeline and analysis of your progress that your office can advertise afterwards, as well as includes a set of optional seminars your green team members can attend to learn more about sustainability topics in a more in-depth manner. Patagonia’s The Responsible Company checklist is a set of free downloadable ideas that any company can use to facilitate socially and environmentally conscious progress. The Planeteers used this list and picked out the top opportunities for Performics to consider adopting. The content is inspirational, practical and can be applied across almost any industry. The Chicago Conservation Corps Blog has a list of green events in Chicago neighborhoods. For example, if you have 2 hours this Saturday to offer and you live in Lincoln Park (or want to create such an event), check out this calendar for a beach cleanup and pitch in. It’s a fantastic resource. Secure the Call, is a non-profit organization that re-purposes used cell phones, matches them with chargers and then donates them to centers and people who need them (senior centers, domestic abuse centers, etc.). Rather than let your old cell phones sit at home, take up space, or worse: go to a landfill and leech harmful chemicals into earth, your cell phones will now be reused to help someone who needs it. Performics just started this cell phone drive last week and we’re excited to see results. There are countless resources available to help you successfully participate in a solution for the the environmental crisis we are in currently. My biggest piece of advice to anyone looking to begin a green committee at their office is to just start progress by setting up a regular meeting. The content will evolve and you will learn as you go, but getting momentum takes that critical first step.

Go Team! Go Green! Go DO IT!


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