How to Get the Green Light for Green Initiatives from your Organization
1. Start small and keep it simple. Trying to do too much at once can paralyze an organization. A simple change such as replacing a toxic cleaning chemical with a non-toxic or least toxic one can be accomplished almost overnight, especially when changes are budget neutral or can actually be proven to reduce costs. Successful implementation of that first change paves the road for further changes in the organization that benefit bottom line and environment.
2. Start at the top. Getting a "buy-in" from top management on a specific change as well as the general direction of more eco-friendly or greener applications makes achieving consensus much easier.
3. Involve all those with a stake in the change. Changing to green initiatives usually involves several areas of an organization, from staff management and training to the actual procurement. Taking all groups into account at the outset and making sure the explanations of the overall benefits of the change reach all affected parties eliminates unnecessary roadblocks and clears the way for a smooth transition.
4. Leverage stakeholders. It is often major stockholders, board members or other benefactors who drive a change toward "greening" and "sustainability." Those with vision see the long-term benefit and cost savings that can result, and involving them early can streamline efforts. Stakeholders can also be invaluable in resolving an impasse.
5. Extend consensus. Once the organization starts implementing changes, there is an opportunity to extend the effort to vendors and even customers. Vendors can be encouraged and required to meet new "green" specifications. Customers and vendors respect responsible organizations, and green and sustainable changes set a positive example. Communicating successes directly to the media facilitates further change within the organization… and the more companies that are involved in green purchasing, the lower the costs.
Tips courtesy of the Greening the Cleaning program of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology at Hackensack University Medical Center, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. The Environmental Center has advised hundreds of organizations including hospitals, schools, government agencies and major corporations on green cleaning and other sustainable practices.