3 practical tips for climate action you can take in your company

The first three steps any employee can take to make an impact on climate change.

John Wetenhall
November 16, 2021
Group of colleagues laughing. Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Does it feel like actually making meaningful changes to address climate change at your company is out of reach? It’s easier than you think, and plenty of employees are sparking changes at all levels, from raising internal awareness about the impact of climate change on their business to switching to 100% renewable energy.

Here are three steps you can take to make progress, fast.

1. Learn what’s been done already and how you can help

Many companies have people or entire teams that focus on corporate sustainability issues. Sometimes these are informal positions performed in addition to an employee’s normal role, and other times they may be permanent positions solely focused on sustainability within the organisation (see point 2 for more). 

Start by finding out what your company has already done on sustainability and who has contributed to these efforts.
Some questions to ask:

  • Do we have a sustainability or corporate social responsibility (CSR) team? Who’s on it?
  • Do we have a sustainability report or section in our annual report that covers these topics?
  • Have we already made any commitments such as net zero, 100% renewable (RE100), etc?
  • Are there any informal groups within the company or our industry working on these topics that I could connect with?

2. Assemble a climate crew at your company

Your company may already have a “Green team” or similar, informal group of people working on these initiatives. But, if one doesn’t exist, then start one! 
Some tactics:

  • Start a Slack/Teams/chat channel on the topic and recruit a few people to join.
  • Create a page or post on your company’s intranet or wiki with some basic information about the topic and how it relates to your company, such as what your initial goals are.
  • Ask your sustainability team how you can help.

A great way to recruit people and start the conversation is to host an event – virtual or in-person – on the topic.

Some ideas include:

  • Show a film like 2040 and have a discussion about what role your company wants to have in contributing to a positive future.
  • Host a discussion session about one of the four impact areas: energy, money, influence, or emissions. Share an article in advance, discuss it, and brainstorm ideas about how that topic area applies to your company.

Following your event, invite attendees to join the climate crew. You can even dive straight into working towards sustainability goals. As with any meeting, clarifying action items with owners and due dates will help drive progress. See below for specific actions you can take.

3. Focus the conversation on impact

You want to set the tone early on to focus on the most impactful actions your company can take and avoid getting distracted by actions that may be more visible, but have less impact on emissions, such as recycling, using reusable coffee cups and containers, etc. 

The best way to do this is to centre the conversation around your company’s emissions and how to reduce them. Start by doing a lightweight carbon emissions audit, which will arm you with the data and make it easy to demonstrate where the biggest opportunity areas are for your company. 

One online tool we recommend is Pathzero, an Australian company that allows you to  assess your emissions (and ultimately offset them). Try their tool to get a sense for the different categories of emissions and how your company stacks up. 

Alternatively, you can start with the solution areas outlined in the previous article, and apply them to your company’s situation. Outline brief proposals for each, and discuss them with your colleagues in the climate crew or sustainability team if you have one. This will help you start to figure out what questions to ask, data to gather, and people to work with to make progress towards these goals. 

Key takeaways

  • Figure out what your company has already accomplished on sustainability.
  • Start or join your company’s climate crew or green team.
  • Take your first step with a basic emissions audit and/or solutions proposals.
  • Reach out to us at info@WorkForClimate.org and ask for help if you get stuck.

Ready for action? We have a range of resources and support available to employees wanting to flick the switch on fossil fuels at work! Check out our Renewable Energy page for more information.

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