What It Is
A Sustainability Committee or “Green Team” helps manage an organization’s sustainability efforts and develop its institutional capacity around sustainability. A Green Team assesses the current state of the organization, brainstorms possibilities, sets goals, and creates action plans.
A Sustainability Committee ideally contains members from different departments who are enthusiastic about making the organization more sustainable. It is helpful if members have some knowledge of sustainability issues; however, the most important factor is a willingness to engage in the process and learn. Sustainability Committees schedule regular meetings independently, and perhaps from time to time with the owner, board of directors, or managers to discuss the Green Plus process and share ideas on how to impact the three areas of people, planet, and performance.
If your organization is composed of several employees or is a sole proprietorship, your Sustainability Committee might be more informal. The key is not the exact size or composition of the Sustainability Committee, but rather a willingness to be curious, creative, and observant about the possibilities.
Why It Matters
A key component of sustainability is progress, and a Sustainability Committee helps your organization make progress and integrate sustainability into its culture. Creating a Sustainability Committee will help ensure that your organization completes the Green Plus certification process and succeeds with its new sustainability tactics. Beyond being a great tool for developing a more sustainable organization, a Green Team engages employees in sustainability, which has been linked to greater employee productivity, satisfaction, and innovation.
- Announce the goal of Green Plus certification to all employees and members of the business. Also describe what the Green Plus process would entail and what it will mean to the future of the organization.
- Invite employees to join the Sustainability Committee (through volunteerism, assignment, or whatever means are considered best) and request an initial meeting of the committee.
- Meet regularly with the committee throughout the Green Plus process and aid in the completion of the Green Plus Diagnostic Survey.
- Submit the Green Plus Diagnostic Survey and begin to have the Sustainability Committee implement their suggestions.
- Ensure that the Sustainability Committee continues to stay active by continuing to meet, evaluate opportunities, and innovate with new practices.
- Set goals for key sustainability objectives and rally the organization around them.
- If the option is conducive to the organization, consider the option of hiring a permanent Sustainability Coordinator, who would ensure constant surveillance of the business’ sustainability practices.
Resources for More Information
- Franklin & Marshall College has substantial information about their Sustainability Committee on their website.
- The College of Charleston has a similar Sustainability Committee listed on their website.
- GreenBiz offers a resource-rich Green Team Center on its website.
Convening a Green Team engages employees, garners ideas, and improves the chances of success for sustainability initiatives.
Glossary of Related Terms
Green Team: A cross-functional team comprised of representatives from various operating departments committed to improving environmental sustainability.
Sustainability Committee: A cross-functional team comprised of representatives from various operating departments committed to improving triple bottom line sustainability.