Tenant companies and employees have begun to expect sustainability practices in their buildings. Their own employees are pushing them to do so. About 60% of Gen Z workers said they won’t even apply at workplaces with a “non-green” reputation. And 61% of Millennials said sustainability is a deciding factor in where they choose to work.
It’s up to landlords to give their tenant companies a desirable, sustainable workplace that companies can in turn use to retain and expand their ever-growing environmentally conscious employees. Employers can also implement company-wide initiatives to show their dedication to the cause.
What is Sustainability?
Creating a Sustainable Workplace
1. ESG in the Office
If you don't already have one, form a sustainable office team to brainstorm ideas, implement new ways to go green, and encourage your colleagues to participate. This is a great way to get environmentally conscious employees involved in a greater role that they're passionate about.
Make sure you understand the definition of ESG and how it applies to your workplace. ESG stands for environmental, social, and governance, and is defined as a framework for how an organization manages the risks and opportunities in the realm of ESG criteria, with a holistic view of sustainability and how each factor in a workplace plays a role, not just focusing on environmental issues.
2. Waste Management
Waste management can be an easy way to get tenants and employees involved in your sustainability efforts. Implement a compost system in the office or separate trash, recycling, and compost in the kitchen/cafe area.
You can also host interactive challenges for tenants and employees. Some ideas are hosting a competition for who can produce the least amount of trash or the most compost & recycling in a week or month. Or have theme days like Meatless Monday and Trash-free Tuesday.
Electronic recycling has been gaining traction. Plan an electronic recycling collection day once a quarter. Learn more about the benefits of electronic recycling from the EPA.
3. Energy Efficiency
Check out the Office Energy Checklist from the U.S. Department of Energy and measure how much you could save through the World Wildlife Fund's Big Clean Switch tracker.
Work with an energy efficiency company to replace Incandescent Bulbs with Compact Fluorescent or LED Bulbs. You can also implement sustainable lighting and heating & cooling fixtures such as automatic motion-sensor lights throughout the office, or energy-efficient HVAC fan systems. In the winter, open blinds on the south-facing windows during the daytime to allow for natural heating from the sunlight. Close the blinds at night to reduce heat loss. This will decrease the energy your heater will use.
Consider implementing water-saving features for kitchenettes and bathrooms and a water-filling station.
Get an “unplug crew” together and unplug everything at night – create a rule where all lights, computers, printers, and other electronic devices are turned off and/or unplugged before you leave the office. If no one is there to use them, they are only wasting energy when still plugged in.
4. Sustainable Swaps
In the office try eliminating any single-use plastic items like plastic straws, cutlery, lids, and cups and swap for all reusable cups and compostable/eco-friendly brand utensils & straws. Instead of paper products try compostable or reusable items, like these plates & bowls. It also helps to add plants to the office, use eco-friendly, natural cleaning products, Smart Power Strips , and remind everyone to print double-sided when possible.
There is also a great opportunity for customized company branding/eco-friendly swag items like reusable water bottles, hand towels, bamboo cutlery , and tote bags.
For any employee milestones, gift an experience rather than a material item or give a sustainable gift such as a succulent plant, house plant, bamboo cutlery set, a donation in their name to an environmental non-profit organization, or reusable tote bags. Simpli can curate options to fit your goals.
5. Spreading Awareness
Sustainability goes further with more people on board! Spread awareness by hosting lunch & learns on sustainable topics from environmental experts or Simpli can also provide speaker recommendations from our network of trusted experts from beekeepers, e-cycling, plant-keeping and gardening vendors, and plant-based diet nutrition coaches.
Companies can hold landlords accountable by learning more about LEED or Energy Star Certifications and seeing how their specific building stacks up.
You can also read Simpli's Sustainable Tip of the Month and share it with a colleague! Knowledge is power.