Earth Day Ideas for Companies and Their Employees
Earth Day week is a great time to engage employees and accelerate progress on your sustainability program.
With many employees working from home or remotely, companies need to adjust their approach to sustainability in the workplace. Your sustainability program may need new green initiatives and more involvement from your employees since their homes have become part of your carbon footprint. This article discusses some Earth Day ideas for employees, tactics for engaging workers from home and encouraging them to do their part in protecting the environment and reducing carbon emissions to fight climate change.
Use Earth Day For Employee Engagement
With Earth Day fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how we can use this day to both set some time aside to care for the planet, but more importantly remind your employees that your company is committed to being more sustainable and protecting the earth. Everyone needs to do their part and that includes employees working from home. Here are some tips for employees on what you can do to make a direct impact on Earth Day and every day after that. Use April 22nd as the day you raise awareness of your commitment and the specifics of any sustainability program your company may home.
33 Earth Day Activities for At-Home Workers
A great way to do your part on Earth day is look for ways around you to go green and improve your carbon footprint. There are lots of easy ways to improve the green impact of your home. For example:
- Plant something outside your home
- Make or improve a home recycling system
- Make or improve a home composting system
- Switch to efficient lights. Note: In some states like Massachusetts, energy-efficient lightbulbs are provided at no charge by the state government
- Switch to lower-pressure and more efficient showers and faucets
- Safely recycle electronics or batteries
- Donate used goods or furniture
- Stop using plastic bags, bring reusable bags on your shopping trips
- Make a commitment to not buying single-use plastic bottles
- Make a commitment to not using disposable straws
- Find and use alternatives to tupperware or disposable take-out packaging
- Switch to a green energy service often available for a premium from utility companies
- Turn off & unplug electronic devices when not in use
- Print less often and switch to paperless communication and billing
- Walk or ride a bike instead of driving
- Educate yourself by watching videos or listening to podcasts on climate change and sustainability
- Borrow an item from a friend or family member instead of buying new
- Return an item to the manufacturer for resale, e.g. REI or Patagonia offer this
- Eliminate plastic silverware and paper plates
- Only drink water from a reusable bottle or cup
- Purchase groceries from a local farm or farmer’s market
- Upcycle – take something you don’t use and instead of throwing it find it a new purpose
- Teach your family members or friends about good green habits
- Create a library box in your neighborhood
- Switch to an electric vehicle or hybrid
- Switch to battery-powered lawn equipment
- Replace your HVAC with a more efficient unit
- Turn off the HC or Heat on mild days and open the windows
- Get solar power on your roof
- Replace your gas water heater with an electrified hot water pump
- Volunteer locally
- Help clean up your neighborhood
- Find a green cause locally and get involved
Simply taking time to notice little things that can be improved is the first step, and Earth Day is the perfect time to do so. Once you improve your habits and become more eco-friendly, get others to do the same.
Gamification of Activities for Employees
Sometimes making an activity fun or making it a contest can help energize people. Creating a point system or rewards program for employees who are attempting to align themselves with the company’s green mission statement is an effective way to motivate employees. A point-based system could weigh the different objectives, with more difficult tasks rewards more points. At your discretion, some type of rewards like gift cards could be implemented, or simply the spirit of competition might be enough to get your workforce involved.
Donating To Earth Day Causes
One of the simplest and most direct ways you can do your part on Earth day is to donate to a green cause. The Earth Day website will accept donations, or there are a multitude of local organizations looking to make an environmental impact that can always use support. Should you rather donate your time, once again the Earth Day website is a great place to start. There are hundreds of different clean up projects happening on Earth Day, both across the United States, and globally. Additionally, you can always just head to a local park or even the street around your neighborhood and pick up any garbage you find. These options are great ways to do something that has a direct and tangible impact on the environment.
Sustainability Employee Education
Weekly or monthly webinars or video chat meetings specifically dedicated to helping inform employees of the importance of your green plan, the importance of green business as a whole, and what they can do to help. These meetings can be a great place to explain exactly what your organization is trying to do to help the planet, and showcase the work you’re already doing. Additionally, this can be a spot to coach employees on how to approach sustainability measures from home.
Joining a green business association like Green Business Bureau is another great way to educate employees. Membership can bring ideas, policy and process to your sustainability program. You can also use the GBB Carbon Footprint Calculator to calculate your carbon footprint and better understand how your company impacts climate change. GBB also offers courses for employees including a Sustainable Purchasing course for office administrators and facility managers.
Earth Day Activities for Employees: Great Idea, But Not Enough
It is important both as an individual and a company, that working remotely does not slow down our work towards bettering the planet. Everyone needs to work towards having a net positive environmental impact, and Earth Day 2021 is a great place to stop and re-examine how you plan to accomplish your goals and how to best engage your employees to do the same. Use our list of Earth Day activities and ideas for employees to help create a purpose-driven culture and support your company’s larger sustainability mission.
About the Author
GBB Green Ambassador
Travers Schelleng is a content writer for Green Business Bureau who is looking to actively promote sustainability within the foodservice industry. With over a decade of restaurant expertise, he is currently working to help small businesses get a foothold in sustainability initiatives. Outside of work, Travers is passionate about music, film, and cooking.