5 steps to create a Green Team in your business

A very valuable first step for any business is the creation a ‘Green Team’ to champion sustainability and promote environmental responsibility, says Salesforce’s Earthforce Dublin lead Cathleen Cordoba.

Climate change impacts all of us – every individual, company, city and country. At Salesforce we consider the environment a key stakeholder and leverage the power of our people and our products to reduce the impact that we and our customers have on the planet.

One way we do this is by examining our built environment and maximising its sustainability.

That is why when we unveiled plans for Salesforce Tower Dublin, which will open in 2021, we revealed that it will be one of the most sustainable offices Ireland has ever seen.

The all-electric building will source 100pc renewable energy, be certified as a nearly Net Zero Energy Building that will boast an innovative green roof that will sequester carbon and capture rainwater for alternate uses.

Most businesses will not be in a position to build a new building over the next five years.

However a very valuable first step for any business is the creation a ‘Green Team’ to champion sustainability and promote environmental responsibility is a worthwhile initiative.

We have green teams called Earthforce, in over 40 offices around the world. They host activities in their local offices, provide ongoing learning campaigns and work with local communities to create a greener world for all.

If you feel passionate about sustainability and conservation like we do, and you don’t yet have a green team at your company, follow these five steps that helped the Earthforce team at Salesforce get to where we are today.

1. Organise a group of allies

View of a new building alongside River Liffey in Dublin.

Artist’s impression of the new Salesforce Tower which will be opened in Dublin in 2021. Image: Salesforce

Getting started will always be the hardest step to take.

You might feel passionate about environmental issues and see potential for improvement within your company overall – but you can’t make that happen alone.

So talk and listen to your colleagues and connect with those who care.

Together take the first formal step by opening up an internal communication, organising a casual first meeting, or a ‘Lunch & Learn’ will help bring more people to your cause.

2. Create realistic goals

After taking that first step, you tend to expect progress fast. But most likely it’s going to take longer, especially when you consider that you and your environmental allies are volunteering and trying to fit this into already busy schedules.

Set realistic expectations by creating realistic goals. Have defined goals, such as reducing electricity use by 10pc or paper by 25pc over a year, this will help you to measure what you have achieved, and should motivate others to succeed.

3. Communicate, engage, organise

Promoting your efforts and congratulating your full team is really important. Make your posts compelling and engaging and have fun with it.

Try different ways of engaging a wider group within your team, you could invite a guest speakers from local non-profits to speak at office events or organise volunteering opportunities like a beach clean-up.

Don’t forget to take pictures and share them! We consistently find this to be most effective because people like to share what they’ve done and feel connected to others in the organisation.

4. Get support from across the business

You can take visibility and engagement to the next level in your organisation if you find senior leaders to support your mission. Start off by identifying which executives might be passionate about sustainability.

Set up a meeting, make a pitch and end with a concrete and achievable ask so the executive knows exactly how he or she can help.

Another important ally to work with will be colleagues responsible for running your building. If you have a facilities team or an office manager they can help you measure your progress and can make your goals more feasible. 

5. Drive adoption and growth

Proposed new building alongside traditional buildings in Dublin's docklands.

Artist’s impression, looking north, of the new Salesforce Tower which will be opened in Dublin in 2021. Image: Salesforce

Once established, it’s very important to keep driving adoption of green principles among your employees, and grow the impact your team is having. We introduce Earthforce, and what we do, to new employees at new hire orientation in order to catch them on their very first day.

We also look beyond Salesforce to learn and grow our ecosystem – we reach out to local non-profits to volunteer and help them raise awareness of what they do.

Getting involved in a green team is rewarding, exciting, and fun. Plus, you’re doing it for a great cause. Now go ahead and get started!

Published: 11 December 2019