Photo: One employee pushes for change in the workplace

On the surface, making small changes might not seem like much, but a lot of people making a lot of small changes add up to a big difference (Credit: Gossamer Threads)

By Siri, Business Engagement Coordinator at the David Suzuki Foundation

Gossamer Threads, the David Suzuki Foundation's web service provider, recently hosted a David Suzuki at Work workshop at their Vancouver office. According to Jodi Rolston, there was no green team in place yet, but they were taking quite a few steps to make their office a more sustainable one.

Over the past six months they changed their paper supply to 100 per cent recycled and switched their coffee supplier from a chain-branded, non-organic imported one to locally roasted organic coffee (for less money too). They also wanted to take advantage of their office building's green roof (pictured above). In short, the folks at Gossamer Threads wanted a deeper transformation. That's where David Suzuki Ambassador Gayle Hadfield came in.

Over a two-hour workshop, Gayle worked with the team at Gossamer to identify areas they could improve on based on the themes in the David Suzuki at Work Toolkit: waste, water, energy, transportation and health. Their group of 10 came up with a pretty ambitious list, outlining the following as priorities:

  • Reduce waste: Focus on food packaging as well as paper towel waste
  • Reduce energy consumption: Turn off computers, or at least monitors, when not in use
  • Healthier food options: Encourage weekly healthy lunch options (locally sourced, potlucks)
  • Improve air quality: Get plants for the office to increase oxygen and air quality, a use for our compost
  • Drink Tap Water! Less pop, more water: Get rid of water coolers and drink tap water
  • Create a Green Team!

When I followed up with Jodi last week, less than three months later, this is what she reported:

Our plans are definitely coming along. Since the workshop we've almost eliminated the water coolers and got a hard-wired filtration system installed instead for the taps, reduced pop consumption, switched all the paper products to recycled, changed all the bulbs from 50 to 35 watts, everyone turns their monitors off at night and, my favorite: we all have plants on our desks now.

We created a "green team" and it's cut down my need to nag people about things like their monitors and such. Also, the meeting created a lot of awareness about food containers and waste from lunches, so that has been cut down a lot too. All in all I think a lot of positive improvements have come of it!

On the surface, making these small changes might not seem like much, but a lot of people making a lot of small changes add up to a big difference. Congratulations on your progress so far, Jodi, and make sure you keep the David Suzuki Foundation in the loop on your future green accomplishments.

Book a workshop in Vancouver or Toronto with your office green team.

May 11, 2011

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1 Comment

May 14, 2011
2:57 AM

Great job! It is great to hear about individuals making changes in their every day habits. I teach in a small school in PEI and I am trying to get the kids and the staff to make similar changes. I’ve focused on lights, computers, waste and printer paper and most people are “coming along”.
Keep up the great work!

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