Is it so difficult to make a company green? Let us take a look.
How many of your workers now commute using bicycles? Since we experienced MECQ, ECQ, GCQ and all other kinds/levels of lockdown and limited public transportation, it has been a focus of many companies to look for solutions to employee mobility. Even SMEs, like ours, had to find ways to make workers come to work, even on a reduced capacity at offices and stores.
1. Walking is the best. Now that we have filtered our staff to only retain those who live near their place of work, the recommended mode of transportation is no transportation. In the Makati Business District, we see more people walking to work.
2. Bicycles. I always smile when I see food deliveries on bicycles, rather than motorcycles.
They DO NOT pollute the air with smoke emissions and the bigger benefit is making the riders healthier with all the exercise they get from biking.
How much would it cost to give each employee a bicycle to use? Or maybe a rent-to-own scheme would be much appreciated by many workers who will not only save on transportation but be super safe as they bike to work alone.
3. Motorcycles. Yes, it is the dream of every blue-collar worker to own one. It is like a badge of success for someone who earns minimum wage to be able to afford a motorcycle and “drive” it to work. We have workers who do not mind a three-hour motorcycle commute as long as they do not have to wait for a bus or jeep during rush hour.
4. Hybrid cars. This can be the next Executive Compensation package. Only hybrid cars must or could be subsidized by management so staff can also help in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals of a company. There are many brands now, like Prius and the Nissan Leaf, among others.
5. Electric cars. Only reserved right now for those who can afford a TESLA.
6. Electric jeeps and trikes. They have been around for a long time, like golf cars and tricycle models for resorts, clubs, and golf courses. But sooner or later, we will see them in the mainstream as more people turn to renewable energy and these vehicles would be an easy choice.
USING NATURAL AIR
Next is the workplace. We must look for open spaces that may not require air-conditioning due to the new COVID variants. So, it may be time for companies to look at work spaces that have a lot of distances between workers. It had to take COVID-19 to make us think about using less air-conditioning because of the fear of contamination. So now we are forced to stretch and think of what was almost impossible — working in open spaces. We’re doing it now.
The idea of buying farm lots is also high on every company’s “to do” list. Farms are not only good for companies to send workers to — for relaxation, some meditation, or a retreat, and also for team-building activities. Others may find the bosses converting their formerly personal farm lands into company meeting places or similar outdoor function areas as well-ventilated spaces.
NO PLASTICS, JUST GARDENS
Every good meaning manager must look at company policies and check how updated they are. Do they now include policies on greening, waste segregation, using less water in toilets and maybe even having a company “grow your own food” project to ensure food security for all?
A lot of company manuals, if we must be updated, must include policies on ESG and that starts with looking at everyday things in the office. Thus, we suggest taking a peek at the everyday commute, everyday lifestyle at the office, and simple ideas like having a community garden for vegetables.
So, is greening a company only for getting scores on Sustainability ratings as a public company? I think every company, private or public, must start to heed the signs. This pandemic serves as a sign for us to listen to Mother Nature and her signals — climate change, the pandemic, rising sea levels, and other global concerns. Our company is but a tiny dot in the Universe but if we all became conscious of what changes need to be done, the sooner the planet will be cooler and the sooner we can go on with a better new kind of lifestyle.
Greening your company is an adaptation to the pandemic for some, but a well-thought-out corporate direction for futurists and visionary leaders. And we hope to have more of the latter.
How green can you be? How do we start inculcating green practices into our corporate culture?
Just like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it starts from the top. We hear of companies where the boss takes the staff on mountain hikes to appreciate nature. We hear of bosses who preach about avoiding plastics and talk about energy savings and walk the talk by closing irrelevant companies and opening sustainable ones. Which kind of boss or leader are you?
It is an imperative to go green now, not just as a fad or trend to look good for PR. Greening is the only way we can make our companies sustainable, to see them thriving into the next generations.
GREEN is the new BLACK.
This article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or MAP.
Chit U. Juan is a member of the MAP Inclusive Growth Committee and the President of the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc.