By: Syed Muhammad Abubakar
Published on Saturday, May 10, 2014
We are all responsible for consuming natural resources in our office and home environments alike, over consumption of paper, wasteful consumption of electricity, excessive use of fuels, extensive travel and huge amounts of waste generation as if our resources are infinite. These actions are leading to the Earth’s rising temperature, melting of glaciers, forest fires and flash floods. Heading towards the deadly phenomena, climate change.
WWF-Pakistan is helping organizations manage and reduce their resource use and encouraging green living. WWF-Pakistan introduced the Green Office Programme to promote climate change mitigation and renewable energy, as well as cut down costs along with making employees environmentally aware. With the mission statement ‘eco efficient offices succeed by saving’. This environmental programme is especially designed for offices which can help in reducing the combined burden of an organization and its employees on the environment. It can also help in achieving savings and slowing down the impacts of climate change.
WWF-Pakistan provides various services for green offices including calculation of the carbon footprint of an organization and consultation for Environmental Management System (EMS) development and implementation. Regular audits are also carried out at a later stage to check whether the organization has successfully adopted green practices. In order to further motivate and educate employees regarding different environmental issues, WWF-Pakistan organizes workshops so that people become conscious of their environmental responsibilities and reduce their carbon footprint. Furthermore, eco-tips are regularly mailed to the employees so that they are aware of the latest trends and learn how they can decrease their consumption through individual actions.
Initially, companies were contacted and evaluated according to their existing consumption pattern and green practices, their office layouts, number of employees and created environmental management plans. Companies set up Green Office teams to implement the programme and to achieve targets given to them by WWF-Pakistan to reduce their natural resource consumption and their carbon footprint. The green team took green initiatives in reducing selected key performance indicators (KPI). They converted CFLs, or fluorescent light bulbs to LEDs and energy efficient appliances. They promoted less paper work environments and optimized paper use, travel was reduced and video conferencing encouraged and car pooling was promoted where possible. General office waste was sorted, reused wherever possible and the remaining waste recycled. Companies also started to purchase environmentally friendly products.
Water usage was reduced and leakages monitored. Employee awareness workshops on Green Office strategies and actions were also conducted.
Companies began to regularly monitor their Green Office KPI data and reported back to WWF. As a result companies were certified and received Green Office diplomas as well as the right to use the Green Office logo to demonstrate their environmental commitment. This has helped to expand the Green Office network and continues to do so.
The Green Office programme offers a number of benefits for organizations who have signed up and received certification as it has also led to a considerable reduction in their costs in the form of lesser bills and material expenses. Moreover, organizations gain a sense of responsibility and play an active role in reducing impact on the Earth’s climate. It also gives employees a better understanding of environmental impacts of business activities, a closer association with the environment whereby making employees more enthusiastic in following sustainable practices for a greener future. The green partnership has lead to a reduction in organizations’ carbon footprint hence becoming responsible citizens and conserving natural resources. Go Green! is the motto of the Green Office programme and it can be hoped that more companies will be encouraged to enroll in it to play an active role in conservation of the planet.