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April 22 may officially be Earth Day but there are ways to positively impact the environment on a daily basis. Incorporating green practices into the workplace not only helps the earth on a larger scale, but it can also create a healthier, more engaging environment for employees. Here are a few of the efforts SMG makes and ways you can take small but impactful action today:
Make living a green lifestyle a team sport
We see it in our client programs, too—when employees are invested, they take ownership in the results. That's the thought behind our dedicated Green Team—an internal cadre that helps hold the office accountable with regular volunteer and fundraising opportunities.
The group spearheads SMG’s recycling efforts, which includes not only paper, plastic, and aluminum, but also glass, electronics, and batteries. And by providing compost bins and switching to compostable plates, paper towels, and utensils, we were able to produce 147 containers (or 5.51 tons) of compost in 2017.
Our participation in the Green Commute Challenge encourages employees to choose alternatives to driving alone. Carpooling, taking the bus, cycling, or walking are great options and help lower major pollutants produced by vehicles.
What you can do today: Set up a compost bin for discarded food and coffee grounds, and provide compostable paper products and utensils. This small change will have a huge impact.
Build a better workplace
In 2009, SMG bought the boarded-up Kirkwood Building on McGee Street in downtown Kansas City and set out to restore the site of the former Auburn automobile dealership. Not only did we want to enhance the integrity of the original 1920 structure, but we wanted the remodel to be as environmentally impactful as possible. We accomplished this by:
This added up to our headquarters being one of the first buildings in Kansas City to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold status.
Though moving into a new building or making major renovations to your current one probably aren’t feasible options right now, there are still ways to improve your building’s sustainability. Uncover windows to allow for more natural lighting, close off unused office space so it’s not unnecessarily heated or cooled, and have your insulation checked by a licensed professional.
What you can do today: Swap out harsh cleaning products with a more environmentally-friendly brand to keep your office clean and green.
Expand your efforts
Green initiatives shouldn’t be contained in the four walls of an office building. By offering additional paid time off for charity efforts, SMG encourages our employees to get out and help the community. This has resulted in numerous volunteer hours dedicated to planting trees around the city.
Our Earth Day initiative this year is a honeybee seed sale—a blend of flowering plants designed to provide a sequence of pollen and nectar throughout the growing season. Honeybees depend on these plants for survival but they’re rapidly disappearing. Proceeds raised from the seed sale will benefit our friends at Bridging the Gap, a local nonprofit working to make the Kansas City region sustainable by connecting environment, economy, and community.
What you can do today: Set up an office-wide initiative to foster participation in an earth-friendly act for the community. Sponsor a recycling contest, plant trees, or clean up a local park. Help the environment and build team camaraderie.
It really doesn’t take much to have an impact. Small changes around the office and the efforts of your team each day will help make a big difference. For more ideas on ways to help, click here.
Mary Widmer | Chief Strategic Officer