What is a Green Office Plan?
A green Office plan is a document laying out the intended eco-friendly office behaviours.
It is devised by elected or appointed Green Office Ambassadors (GOAs) and together with management develop a Green Office Action Plan based on 3 cornerstones:
1. Reduce ( eg: energy and water wastage)
2. Reuse (eg: packaging material)
3. Recycle (eg: paper; ink and toner cartridges)
Identify: What is to be reduced? What at is to be reused? What is to be recycled?
Some organisations will be able to do more than others; it depends on size of the organisation; type of organisation and its culture. Whether you can start with just one or a few of eco-friendly office practices, its commendable because you have started!
Define: Communication of this Action Plan i.e. What is the communication mix you will be using:email, intranet; staff magazines; posters, and meetings.
Decide when you would like to do an assessment of its implementation success – after 6 months? After nine months?
Correct what went wrong; refine your aims; make your objectives clearer; enhance your communication mechanisms, and then you will be ready for stage 2: a green office policy.
What is a green office policy?
A green office policy follows on a green Office plan.
The difference between the green Office plan and a green office policy:
A Plan makes suggestions based on aims and objectives to be reached
A POLICY mandates what is to be achieved
Some companies already have a Plan or a Policy. For these companies, GOW becomes a reminder to re-encourage, re-inspire and/or reinforce, or expand by adding a new eco-friendly office behaviour.
GOW and Sustainability
Green businesses or Sustainable Businesses are defined by business practices, such as:
executives and boards introducing eco-efficient design, manufacturing, transportation, procurement business practices.
Green offices are defined as workplaces where employees themselves are engaged in daily eco-friendly office practices, guided by the principles of: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Green Office Week is an annual week dedicated to focus on, highlight, and encourage officeworkers to engage in office practices that are eco-friendly as well as economical.
Therefore, GOW enhances the sustainability behaviours of a business.
In 2018 the dates are Monday 16 to Friday 20 April.
Action Plans and Toolkits to download
In South Africa Green Office Week (also known as GOW) takes place in April every year. In 2018, the focus of Green Office Week will addressing the issue of water and its importance for survival of organisations nationwide. Water has become a crisis in the Western Cape and a priority issue for the whole nation. No longer can any society or organisation, anywhere in the world take water for granted. Droughts and water shortages are becoming more frequent and every nation, every province, every region needs to understand that preserving and reserving water are priority actions to be adopted. The failure to do so will cause havoc for people and affect the sustainability and survival of organisations whether private, government or civil society. This means that every business continuity plan has to have water management as a priority area. Equally every working citizen, at every working place needs to be sensitized and educated on how to save water.
In South Africa, Green Office Week (also known as GOW) takes place in April every year
around the date 22 April which is Earth Day. The week’s aim is to get all of us, at our workplaces, to look or re-look at how we can recycle, reduce and reuse more, and save more! Like the annual Mother’s Day, it gets us once a year to remember and show that we care. In green office week’s case it’s to care for mother earth – our planet is under stress and it’s not the politicians and governments alone that are going to save the planet’s resources – it’s you and me doing something, no matter how insignificant it looks, it is critical. Although some organisations are already making clear statements about their green products or services and are to be commended for this, it does not mean that the culture of going green in workplaces is prevalent or pervasive!
The week consists of giving each day a focus theme, highlighting saving, recycling and re-using. A toolkit is provided enabling everyone to participate as it provides guidelines, tips and techniques aligned to the week’s focus. Organisations, nationwide are encouraged to participate via a multiplatform information campaign which incorporates national media, email.
GOW’s vision is threefold. To encourage:
Organisations to start seeing themselves as Eco-friendly Workplaces and develop green office practices and policies Management to implement and maintain sustainable practices into their workplaces; and workers to take a look at the daily routines and realise the economic benefits of reducing energy and resource requirements.
Green Office Week is both about a bottom up as well as top down approach: Leaders should take the initiative, but if this is not the case, employees themselves can take the initiative to create excitement about a more environmentally friendly office.
Green Office Week (GOW) launched in SA in 2010 is a national campaign which aims to motivate workforces to adopt green-friendly behaviours. It takes place around Earth Day every year.
Regular updates and info on green issues are posted on Facebook (GOWzit) and on Twitter (GOW_SA).
Green Office Week