As part of the green team at the Foundation, it can be difficult to find new and fun challenges to engage our 60+ staff members in office sustainability — they're very green already. The good news is that I can steal ideas from our David Suzuki At Work Ambassadors, many of whom run green teams in their own workplaces.
For example, Electronic Arts (EA) in Burnaby held their fourth employee electronic recycling day on Thursday, January 13. The green team at EA, run by David Suzuki Ambassador TJ Galda, encouraged employees to bring in a host of items to donate to a local not-for-profit called Free Geek. All of these items would've been stored in basements or headed to a landfill. Instead, Free Geek will take the equipment apart and rebuild them into new functioning machines and donated out to the community.
This event was the biggest success to date, filling more than nine gigantic containers measuring 4ft x 4ft x 4ft each. The collection included more 200 computers, dozens of monitors, and much more. Combined, EA employees have managed to donate over 800 computers and monitors back to the community over the past few years.
Meanwhile, the green team at downtown Vancouver's SAP office, run by Ambassadors Steve Williams and Steve Unger's (AKA the Steves), held their second ambassador workshop just before the holiday break — only this time they acted as workshop participants, rather than facilitators. Their active green team of 50 members wanted to come up with ideas for deeper transformation activities and stronger goals. The successful workshop ended with a goal to implement an "Infrequent Flyers Program" to encourage employees to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by flying less.
One of SAP's most memorable green team activities was the dumpster they dived into last year; they conducted a garbage audit (see our toolkit on p. 33). The team asked the cleaning staff to collect and store the day's garbage, and brave employees volunteered to sift through and sort it. Once they had sorted and determined the weight of garbage, they discovered ways the staff could reduce their waste. For example, staff could transition to travel mugs. From the dive, the green team calculated that their office uses 75,000 paper coffee cups per year — five times the height of Whistler if stacked!
I love hearing about what other offices are doing to decrease their environmental impact! The challenge now is to one-up them, and I think our green team has something cooking for this spring that'll keep TJ and the Steves on their toes.... Stay tuned.
Find more green team activities in our free online toolkit. Or, invite an Ambassador like TJ or Steve to your workplace for an interactive workshop on how to start a green team, or re-inspire your already active team!