How Greening Your Business Can Boost Your Career & Your Values

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The #COP21 Climate Change International Conference going on in Paris this week is big news. Hopefully for more than just creating headlines and soundbites.

But how can you personally relate to environmental issues to what you on a day to day basis or how this impacts your job?

A poll by the job board Monster.ca, found that 81% of Canadians considered that their employer was “polluting the environment,” “ignoring the need to be environmentally friendly,” or in need of “help to become greener”. Only 18% of employees considered their employer to be extremely green.

In a related survey a staggering 78% said that given a choice, they would leave their current job in favour of a greener workplace. Recruiters are now reporting that candidates are demanding to know a company’s environmental stance before taking a job.

This is a classic example of personal values (and in some cases passions) being a foundation of building your personal brand and becoming a key part of the selection process when it comes to jobs.

So how important are your values to you? Would you think about moving jobs because of them?

The environment could be one of your passions, even a core value, the challenge could be that you don’t see your current company doing anything about it. As the survey highlighted, given the choice, you might consider leaving your current employer for a ‘greener’ one - The great news is that you don't have to. The reason could be that most employers are not taking the first steps are lack of information and the upfront cost of doing something.

BUT the real reason is lack of leadership. This is where YOU come in.

Following your values and initiating the ‘greening’ of your workplace can showcase your initiative. Often all most workplaces need is a champion to lead an office to become more environmentally friendly.

Identify who in your organization would have a say in making greener policies and decisions and understand what their current opinions are. Let them know that you are passionate about this cause and you would like to spearhead an initiative to establish the benefits of taking a greener approach. After all green programs have been shown to not just save costs, decrease carbon emissions but also engage and retain employees.

Be sure that your profile internally then becomes one associated with the green initiative, which could include a byline on your e-mail signature, having something in your work area that reflects your involvement or even getting an internal announcement out there.

Three steps to becoming the 'go to' green employee; 

First, do an assessment of what is being done now either formally or informally. Spend some time with the person in your organization who is responsible in order to and understand your companies motivation for bring green. Find out also what has been done in the past. You might have a great idea or initiative but it has been tried before. Better to know why it might not have worked so you don't use that as a launch and see it flop.

Second, seek some input from others in the company. Has a survey been done before? If not, use one of the no charge online surveys to ask a few questions about people's level of interest and what they are already doing. Also see if there is anyone interested in helping you.

Third, what are some quick changes that will have an impact and be noticed? Launch these as an starting initiative. The momentum from these changes, especially if they save the organization money, could enable a longer term and broader strategy. It might also help identify like minded colleagues.

Very soon you will have the unofficial job title of IGO – Internal Green Officer!

What steps can you or your organization be taking to help?

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