Nicola Woods: What we're doing to tackle green elephant in the room
Green initiatives are becoming much more than just a box-ticking exercise for businesses. They are a way to encourage innovation and to help us look at the wider issues affecting the environment.
Young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has been a driving force in bringing the issue of climate change to the fore and her international recognition has inspired the younger generation to consider their impact on the environment and also to ask questions about whether their employers are doing all they can to minimise their own impact.
Going green brings many benefits, such as improved efficiency, healthier workplaces, and cost savings.
The best initiatives often start with small changes, such as energy efficient lightbulbs, reusable cups and recycling bins - basic steps most companies can take to become more responsible.
In the EU, single-use plastic, cotton buds, straws and stirrers will be banned in 2021.
EU members have been given targets, such as plastic bottles being made of 25% recycled content, and by 2029 it is hoped that 90% of them should be recycled.
Although small changes can make a big difference, for many large organisations there will be considerable expenditure on items such as solar panels, new heating systems or lighting.
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Of course, companies can implement new policies but the next challenge that businesses face is buy-in from staff. Taking the time to arrange rubbish is seen as an additional task and there may also be a lack of awareness among employees. Any change in the culture needs to come from the top down.
At Glandore, we have created our own in-house 'green team' who promote reusable amenities across all facilities, working with suppliers to ensure that deliveries are plastic-free and that other packaging coming on-site is reduced.
We've introduced new recycling bins in all our offices and removed bins from each staff member's desk to encourage them to consider how they dispose of their rubbish.
Some of our offices are now equipped with electric car charging points, which is encouraging our members to think about how they travel back and forth to work.
The smallest changes can make a big difference and we'd encourage other local businesses to consider becoming more socially conscious.
Co-working and flexible workspace by their definition are green. It's not just a sharing of ideas, but also of space, heat, light and other resources.
In the Republic, we use 100% renewable energy in our offices across Dublin and Cork.
We've started work on improving our Belfast office and it will fall in line with our other eight offices in 2020.
Every business can do its part to help shape a better future, it's up to you to decide if you're ready to talk about the green elephant in the room.
Nicola Woods is community and events executive at Glandore