Sustainability is on everyone’s lips yet you’re frustrated because it’s too expensive, too complex and too “we’ve always done it this way” for your company to take action? Unfortunately, climate and sustainability issues are often perceived as costly and therefore ignored by companies, even though transforming businesses in a sustainable way is key to the future of our planet and the solutions would even have a positive impact on the bottom line. Creating an internal green team, an employee-led sustainability task force, raises awareness and influence in the workplace and opens up the opportunity to work together to create sustainable change faster and more effectively. Our Fashion Cloud green team is about to turn two years old. In this blogpost, we share our experience with you.
How to get started
Anyone can initiate a green team. Start by finding like-minded colleagues and set up a first meeting to get to know each other’s motivation and ideas for sustainability and climate action. The Fashion Cloud green team has always been interdisciplinary and participation is voluntary – and this works out great! Our tip: In addition to being open to all interested and motivated colleagues, it makes sense to issue a few targeted invitations to ensure C-level participation as well as participation of colleagues with specific know-how from all offices.
Well organized and flexible
At the first green team meeting, you can assign roles like team lead or treasurer. Especially in the beginning it is helpful to use agile frameworks like Scrum or Kanban, which allow flexibility and adaptation. In addition, regular meetings are advisable: initially every two weeks until the first initiatives are up and running and later once a month is sufficient. There is no ideal team size. However, in order to remain productive, we recommend dividing green teams of 10 or more participants into smaller sub-teams. Communication channels are particularly important: at Fashion Cloud, we implemented a green team channel as well as an open channel where all colleagues can exchange information about sustainability topics into our internal communication tool.
How to get your Green Team active
In the beginning it’s simple: any action is better than no action. It’s best to start with internal initiatives aimed at raising awareness and acceptance of sustainability within the company. Typical topics are those that make the office greener: waste separation as well as switching to recycled office materials, vegetarian-vegan catering or renewable energy. Our first initiative highlight was the lecture series “out of the green bag”, where internal or external speakers regularly share their knowledge on sustainability topics. As you start to impact the company positively, it’s time to start bigger projects: calculate your corporate carbon footprint, reduce it and become climate neutral.
5 tips from Fashion Cloud green team
Stay flexibel. Accept that ideas and initiatives you were initially enthusiastic about may fail or become unfeasible at some point. Don’t get discouraged and adapt to the changing environment.
Green Team Events. Especially important at the beginning: awareness and acceptance. Team events with a social or environmental character, as well as sustainability challenges, are a great way to engage colleagues in a fun way.
Be transparent. Share your ideas and successes with colleagues who are not on the green team. Especially in the beginning, regular updates about your work help create awareness and acceptance.
Management commitment. Having C-level representation on the green team makes decisions faster and easier. It also brings you a big step closer to incorporating sustainability into your company’s goals and strategy.
Get connected. Being part of a multi-stakeholder initiative provides important input and exchange opportunities. With “Leaders for Climate Action”, we are working together with a large network for climate protection.
Want to learn more about sustainability at Fashion Cloud and our current initiatives and projects? Then take a look here!
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