Green Team at the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability
Aisling O’Reilly explains how we run our Green Team, a group of staff who meet regularly to find and test new ways we can be more sustainable as a department.
In 2018, staff members at the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability set up a Green Team. Our purpose was to identify and implement sustainability actions within the department. Today, the Green Team has four to five members and meets every six weeks. Together, we have undertaken some fantastic projects that have enhanced our skillset, while also improving sustainability where we work.
Our successes include:
- Switching to plant-based milk for our shared kitchen.
- Purchasing plant-based catering as standard for all meetings hosted by our department.
- Introducing a sustainable travel policy.
- Creating a yearly carbon report for the department.
- Organising a crafting session for Fairtrade Fortnight.
- Fundraising for SCORE Scotland with lunchtime yoga.
- Creating and managing a new Teams channel to support the Sustrans Active Commute Club challenge.
Setting up a Green Team has been extremely rewarding, as it allowed us to make changes where we work when action on a larger scale seemed to be lacking.
If you want to set up a Green Team where you are, here are some tips:
1. Seek support from senior management
Although senior management generally supported the idea of a Green Team within our Department, it was important to clearly explain our purpose, aims and the resources required. To formalise this agreement, we created a brief for management, explaining the purpose of the Green Team, our scope and the proposed time to be spent.
2. Ensure Green Team members have clear roles
The SRS Green Team has 4-5 permanent members. To share the workload, we split chairing responsibilities, with a different member acting as chair each month. We have a document outlining the role and key duties of the chair and an excel document that notes ongoing projects and actions assigned.
3. Keep peers informed of your work
We want to ensure that the hard work we do is visible within the department. To achieve this, we often provide 5-10 minute updates at our regular all-staff meetings. These updates can focus on particular projects we’re working on, or seek input on certain aspects of our work. The presentation below is more of an introduction to the Green Team to ensure that the whole department knows what our purpose, scope and processes are.
4. Tailor it to your interests
Everyone in the Green Team takes the time out of their normal working days to contribute. So, it’s important to keep yourself motivated and interested. If you are passionate about certain areas, such as tackling plastic waste, then pursue them. Alternatively, if you have community connections or particular strengths, then make sure to bring those to the table. The Green Team is what you make of it.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
We can’t be experts at everything, so it often helps to seek advice from others. In our regular meetings, we often invite guests. These guests are fellow colleagues who we invite to discuss their area of expertise or to gain fresh perspective on new projects we are proposing.
Tell us your story
Have you been involved in a Green Team or Sustainability Committee where you are? If so, we’d love to hear about it. Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or posting on the Sustainability Champions Yammer.