6 Steps to Starting a Sustainable Workplace Committee

Want to help boost sustainability on campus? Magnify your sustainable practices by starting a Sustainable Workplace Committee within your department or office. These teams can help your colleagues learn more about sustainable actions, as well as contribute in a unique way to advancing sustainability on campus.  

Here are six easy steps to start a Sustainable Workplace Committee:

1. Find your Pack

Have colleagues who ride a bike to campus, bring their lunch in reusable containers, or who are great at outreach and organization? Gather a pack of interested members who also want to create a more sustainable workplace. Book a room and send out invitations for your first meeting.

2. Know Your Baseline

Review the Sustainable Workplace Certification from NC State Sustainability.  The certification offers a variety of tips that your office can incorporate, ranging from energy and water use reduction to going zero waste. Use the guide as a starting point for potential projects your Sustainable Workplace Committee can tackle.

3. Think and Do

Brainstorm other activities, programs and workplace changes that you would love to see implemented. Need inspiration? You may find this list of monthly campus campaigns helpful.  Nothing is too big or too small for this brainstorming session. Next, choose items that can be planned and accomplished easily for each month or semester. If applicable, choose one long-term project. If funding is needed, consider the NC State Sustainability Fund, which offers grants.

4. Collaborate with Campus

The Facilities Division has a host of experts who can offer support and provide sustainability engagement and educational activities. For example, tour the NC State Compost Facility & Research Cooperative or schedule a site evaluation to become a Zero Waste Workplace. Find ways your department can be involved not just within your department but across campus. It’s a great way to share the workload, meet new people and learn from sustainability experts. Contact sustainability@ncsu.edu if you have questions about how to connect.

5. Coordinators and Calendars

Decide who will be the point-person for each goal and activity (even long-term goals need a project manager). Then, create a schedule for all of your events. Don’t forget to book times for your Sustainable Workplace Committee meetings and times for when the group will be on hiatus (think winter or summer breaks). These meetings are essential to share updates and stay connected.

6. Share the Fun

Remember to promote your events and activities with your department newsletters, flyers or social media. Share your success with campus too – it’s a great way to inspire other departments on campus to form their own Sustainable Workplace Committee! The more people involved, the more fun and greater impact your initiatives will have.

Creating a Sustainable Workplace Committee is a great way to promote our sustainability strategic goals here at NC State and your own departments’ mission. Learn more in this Zoom presentation on Creating a Sustainable Workplace featuring Waste Reduction & Recycling, University Sustainability Office, and the Wilson College of Textiles Sustainability Committee.