Green Practices at the Workplace: A Step
towards Sustainable Development
Ms. Sweety Gupta,
Assistant Professor, Rukmini Devi
Institute of Advanced Studies
Address- B-7/117, Sector-4, Rohini, Delhi-110085
Contact Details- 0-9999270466
Ms. Aanchal Aggarwal,
Ansal University, Gurgaon
Ms. Nupur Arora
Ansal University, Gurgaon
Human activities have a deep impact on our surroundings, environment on
individuals as well as organizations. Gradually, the impact of human activities
on the environment has become intense. The result of this impact is that today
more organizations are voluntarily ready to operate in an environmentally
responsible way as they understand the significance of business practices to the
society and the environment. NGO and environment friendly organizations are also
encouraging businesses to become greener by offering incentives. “Being green” is becoming the norm &
trend. This research papers tries to explore the issues, strategies and
challenges associated with implementing green management practicesin the
workplace in order to make the world a better place.
This paper discusses the strategies that can be adopted by organization to adopt
a green path for a better world& tries to find how the employees can make
efforts to make green management a success.This paper also discusses
strategies associated with implementation of green management practices and
attempt has been made to explain
that implementing green-practices is a
step towards Sustainable Development.
Keywords:Green Management, green initiatives, green practices, environment, go green, sustainable
Due to globalization, privatization and liberalization, our society is moving at
a very fast pace and is facing crisesas technology is replacing nature.
Moreover, unsustainable development is leading the society towards misuse of
social and naturalresources. These changes are posing a great threat on the
environment, the result of which is soaring temperature on planet. Moreover,
human activities like fossil fuel combustion, irresponsible use of all natural
resources and extensive deforestation are making us far and far from the dream
of a better world. With science, technology and machines replacing natural
processes and procedures, all the human activities are making a negative impact
on the environment making it necessary for mankind to act fast. Our lifestyle is
changing the way; we carry our daily activities & the environment around us. It
has become necessary to adopt green way not only at individual level but also at
To fulfill the dream of a better world, it becomes necessary to change the
present business practices to work towards sustainable development. Sustainable
development is based on optimum utilization of resource.
In the present times, organizations have to act in an environmentally
responsible way and the people should understand the significance of shifting
from machines to green practices as the future belongs to a green economy.
Organizations should understand their responsibility towards society and take
every possible step to reduce the impact of their activities on nature and
should also try to reduce carbon footprints in all possible manners. The
traditional management practices never took into account the environmental
aspect associated with nature and therefore, they are being replaced by Green
management. Moreover, organizations are also realizing that adopting greener practices is not only good for
the environment and society at large but it also provides them competitive
advantage in the form of improved customer loyalty and enhanced public image.
Recently, environmental issues and
sustainable development have gained importance in developed and developing
nations at both the individual and group level. The reason behind this concern
over environmental issues is the fact that the future of the coming generations
will be seriously threatened if no step is taken to reduce the wastage of
resources and carbon footprint. Studies show that organizations adopting green management practices have increased
employee satisfaction, reduced labor turnover, and are also able to attract top
quality human talent while saving cost.
Rationale of the Study
Today, the need of adopting green management practices
are greater than ever before and organization are undertaking every possible
step in this direction by educating employees regarding the benefits of going
Green in the workplace.
A more detailed research is therefore required to analyse the strategies for
adoption of green practices in the today’s corporate world. Thus, this research
would assess the ways in which green management practices can be adopted and the
ways in which active participation can be sought by the management in
implementing the green management practices in the organisation to make world a
OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
study the strategies in which green management practices can be adopted at the
discuss how implementing green-practices is a step towards Sustainable
discuss the ways in which
active Participation in adoption of
Green Practices in the workplace can be sought.
To discuss latest trends and happening of
Green management in the present times.
Business Dictionary defines Green business as “a business functioning in a
capacity where no negative impact is made on the local or global environment,
the community, or the economy and green business will also engage in
forward-thinking policies for environmental concerns and policies affecting
According to Slovik, 2013
green business is defined as“An organization that uses renewable resources
(environmentally sustainable) and holds itself accountable for the human
resource aspect of their activities (socially responsible)”.
Outcome of the Study
He identifies a green business activity as an activity performed in a way that
has adverse impact on the ecological system & that benefits the natural
He observed that though progress in the last decade has
been made on green issues as a result of implementing laws. This is also because
businesses know the effect of ignoring green practices in the mode world.
Today businesses across the globe are facing increased
competitive, regulatory and community pressures to implement green business
practices in the world. In addition to that going green also reflects a social
awareness to preserve Earth’s natural resources for future generations.
He states that green businesses have more sustainable
business practices and benefit by ensuring sustainable development through
helping people live well today and tomorrow by contributing to the world through
healthier green practices.
Strategies to Adopt Green Practices in the Workplace
The significance of adopting green management practices can’t be ignored due to
change in customer’s attitude towards organization adopting green practices &
acting in an environmentally responsible manner. Adopting green management
practices in the present day’s business world is very crucial for the success of
business organizations as such it has become more significant to adopt green
management at all levels in the organization. The following are the strategies
that should be adopted in order to incorporate green management in the business:
Follow the 3 R’s Concept
The 3 R’s concept stands for
REDUCE, RECYCLE & REUSE. This can be
done by eliminating misuse and wastage of resources. By Reduce, we mean
that you try to reduce the amount of waste you produce in a number of ways by
simplifying and reducing the amount of packaging you use and by using reusable
containers. By Re-use, we try to use the products again. This can be
possible if instead of doing for disposable plates and containers, you start
replacing them with plates or containers that can be used again only by washing.
By Recycle, we mean, you should try to recycle all the used paper,
glasses, bottles used in the organization. Also a proper waste disposable system
should be employed.Toxic
substances, such as used batteries should be disposed of carefully with the help
of waste management team.
Organize Green Audits in the workplace
Green audits are a great way of saving
energy. Consultations should be done
with energy auditors to save energy. Green innovations like installing timers to
turn off lights automatically, using energy efficient LEDs bulbs, keeping
temperatures at an average range are some ways suggested by these energy
auditors for judicious use of energy at the workplace.
green products, services & technology
Green technology is the technique used now-a-days to conserve the natural
environment and resources by reducing the wastage of resources. Companies are
trying to promote green technology in all the business functions as it is the need of the hour and will
bring business benefits like improved reputation. The issue for green
technology involves innovations without harming the nature and by maintaining
the business profitability.
Choose green product over other harmful products as they
have increased energy efficiency and low levels of carbon because they make use
of material that requires less energy to produce. Moreover green products have
positive environmental effect as they use less hazardous materials and can be
recycled causing less harm to the environment. The service industry also offers
greener and more viable service options. Services like green holidays that use
low-carbon travel, accommodation and food are increasingly getting popular.
& water resources judiciously
Replace the old bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs or light-emitting diode
bulbs (LEDs) as CFLs use less energy than regular bulbs and last longer.
Encourage employees to save electricity by turning off lights when they aren't
being used. Upgrade to modern version of electronic as they consume less energy.
Some devices can help you save up to 70 percent. Rearrange workstations to make
use of natural lights coming from windows.
Simple and inexpensive waysto reduce the power consumption should be employed in
organization wherever possible. Use water judiciously as it is a precious
resource and use of rain water harvesting technique in the workplace.
Buy eco-friendly products
Use of eco-friendly products should be
encouraged as they can be reused and recycled with ease. This can be done by
changing the purchasing habits of the employees and discussing the benefits of
eco-friendly product with the. Workshops promoting eco-friendly products can
also be held to encourage eco-friendly product usage in the workplace. Plastic
bags should be substituted them with jute bags and similarly eco-friendly
packaging should be employed instead of plastic packaging products.
Choose public transport & go for
Carpooling should be encouraged for employees by
providing them facilities like free car parking space. It can be done by
discussing the benefits of it with the employees and how they can save cost
through it.Carpools can be easily created by launching a information sharing board in
the organization that help connect people using similar routes for work.
Employees should also be encouraged to climb stairs instead of using elevators
in order to save electricity and to use public transport system. Start posting
transit schedules, bus routes, and details of different transportation in easily
accessible places to encourage them.
Use of renewable resources & afforestation
Use renewable sources
of energy like solar energy, wind-energy, hydro-energy and other alternative
“Plant more and more trees”. This simple fundamental not only improve the appearance of the
surroundings but also goes a long way in improving the quality of environment
around you. Planting more trees will improve the aesthetic of office and will
also make us a step closer to green management
Reduce carbon footprints
Simple actions such as switching off
equipment when not in use, use of
power equipment that have less power consumption, recycling used papers, using
disposable plates and containers can help you reduce the carbon footprints in
Go Virtual in the Workplace
Teleconferencing and video-conferencing should replace
actual meetings in order to reduce the impact on environment. Fuel efficient car
and vehicles that saves energy should be encouraged in the organization wherever
possible. Face-to-face meetings should be done only when necessary otherwise, if
possible try to go for meetings virtually by teleconferencing, and video-conferencing.
This simple method can also work wonders in go green initiative for the
Provide Work from home facility
Facilities like work from home one a week depending on the type of task can
be given to employees to yield benefits for both organization and environment.
Working from home can be a good solution as it saves travelling time and petrol,
thereby reducing carbon footprints of the employees working in the organization.
All the above strategies, if properly implemented can help you achieve the
tag of green organization which in the present times is a very valuable tag and
helps the organizations achieve a better public image and strengthen their
Strategies to Adopt
Green Practices in the Workplace
Compiled by the Authors
Sustainable Development: A step towards
The concept of sustainable development was defined by the Brundtland Commission
in 1987 as “the ability to ensure that humanity meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”It contains within it two key concepts:
1. The concept of needs, in particular the essential
needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
2. The idea of limitation that is imposed
by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability
to meet present and future needs in a sustainable manner."
Sustainable Development stands for meeting the needs of present generations
without jeopardizing the ability of futures generations to meet their own needs
– in other words, a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations
to come. This concept integrates immediate and longer-term objectives towards
social, economic and environmental issues as vital components of human
development. Sustainable development can be bought in the world by bringing
radical changes in thinking in economic and social structures.
Green management practices and sustainable development have to form a crucial
part of the organization to fulfill the dream of better and greener world. The aim of sustainable development is to define
schemes that bring together the economic, social, and environmental aspects of
the activity related to the lifestyle of human beings. All these aspects should
be considered at both level i.e. at individuals and organizational level.
Sustainable development aims at finding a healthy balance between the different
aspects of human lifestyle. Besides
allowing the basic needs of present and future generations being fulfilled with
regard to geographic and economic constraints, sustainable development also aims
at improving quality of life. Sustainable development aims at optimal
utilization of the planet’s resources for their conservation of future
The importance of sustainable development as a part of Green management cannot
be overlooked. The problem of over utilization of resources is of great concern
as the world’s population is exploding and the Earth possesses limited
resources. This means that the future development of all species living on earth
is under serious threat. It is therefore, the responsibility of human beings to
take steps in this regards to combat the problem of over-utilization of
resources for a greener and safer world.
interest of achieving sustainable development lies at all levels be it at
organizational level, shareholders level, societal level or at individual or
employee’s level. Moreover, pressure from consumers in this area has increased
manifolds due to increased concern towards environmental issues and the need for
incorporation of green management practices in the organization.
SeekActive Participation in Adoption of Green Practices in the Workplace
Involvement of employees is a must for incorporating green management as an
important part of organization. Studies show that employees initially resist any
kind of change in the organization. So, proper efforts have to be made to
involve them at each and every step to make the implementation successful.
Generate awareness among the employees: Awareness should be created among the employees
regarding green management initiatives. They should be advised to start amendthe
way their lifestyle both at home and workplace. They should be properly
explained the significance of practicing environmentally responsible
behaviorsand the changes they can incorporate in their lives.
Recognize the efforts of the employees:Encouragement and recognition of employees can go a long
way in promoting green initiatives. Make public announcements and congratulate
employees them for the effortsmade. Publishing a quarterly or annualnewsletter
showing the efforts made in this respect can be a good idea. Make a team devoted
towards handling all the issues related to green management practices and also
invite suggestions from all the employees regarding the changes they want to see
towards a better and greener environment.
Inform employees about various
associations involved: Keep
employees informed and communicate about all Green issues with the employees.
Get in touch with different association and agencies promoting green practices
to get a better idea of the scenario and take proper steps needed for the
implementation of green behavior in the organization.
Follow up periodically:
Get to know the progress made by comparing it with the standards set. In case of
deviation, start sending continuous reminders to the employees stating that
their participation is required to inculcate the green management practices.
Review periodically the efforts made by employees.
Train the employees:Develop
training programs to adopt informed and responsible behavior towards environment
and sustainability. Programs that help train the employees rewardingenvironment
and sustainability issues can help the Go green initiative. Make regular efforts
to continuously update yourself regarding the latest changes taking place in the
Involve media for improved public image:
Keep the suppliers and customers informed about your
efforts with the help of media.Company should publicize the efforts they are
making to inculcate green management practices to all its stakeholders like
government, media etc.Publicity in media will benefit the company in the form of
enhanced reputation and improved public image.Make
your product, processes and services have an edge your competitors by regular
updates to media about your efforts.
Strengthen your brand image:
Develop branding and external communications by promoting green products,
services and technology. Promote newsletter, press releases and interviews for
creating awareness about green product, processes and technology. Have
publications fully focused on sharing your efforts and achievements with media.
Use company website to spread your words to media and other concerned parties.
Reports should include your policy, targets, strategies etc.
The company should try to seek active participation in
every possible way. The company should share the achievements with media and
company’sachievements, products, processes, services and plans should be
publicized to the general public as well.PowerPoint slides should be made that
cover environmental commitments and the steps taken by organization to promote
Go green initiatives as these will encourage other stakeholders to be part of
such initiatives. The presentation to be delivered to media should also include
a brief summary of plans, policy, targets, achievements and future plans. Put
this information about your achievements related to green management in
documents like brochure to spread awareness about the efforts undertaken in this
Latest Trends in Green Management
Green management practices should be adopted
effectively in order to excel in the global competitive environment. Green
Management is revolutionizing organization’s functions, product and processes
and is becoming an integral part of organizations. Green management practices
are beneficial for the organizations as they save money and avoid intervention
from the government as they inculcate environmental friendly ways of conducting
business activities in the organizations.
Developed nations are making special efforts
to adopt green management practices as a part of doing business but for
developing nations, there is lot of scope of improvement to make organization
adopt greener and more environmental friendly ways of doing business to make the
world better place for the present as well as future generations.
Big brand names such as Dell, Google and Wal-Mart
are harnessing renewable sources of energy to adopt green management practices
in every possible manner.
There is a greater need for establishing a
proper channel to help in adoption of green management practices at the
organizational level. Not only government should work harder in this regard but
also companies dealing with products like electronic products, automobiles etc
should take initiative to improve the environment. The companies should take
steps & explain ways to dispose these electronic and hazardous products safely &
should promote recycling.
Business organizations are aware of the importance of adopting green management
practices in strengthening the public image and the reputation of the business.
Therefore, energy-efficient products and processes that reduce wastage are
becoming popular among the organizations.
Firstly,Adopting green management practices result in reduced cost and
improved revenues for the organization by lowering the overheads costs. It also
helps in freedom from government intervention as adopting such management
practices results in complying the regulatory pressures by the government. Secondly, adopting green management practices results in enhanced public image & improved
market position because it improves the relationship between organization and
other stakeholders. Thirdly, adopting green practices enhance organization’s
profitability as a result of improved public image. Lastly, green management
practices helps in better utilization of employee resources. To conclude, it
won’t be wrong to say that organizations have started acting in an
environmentally responsible way and the employees also understand the
significance of adopting green management practices at the workplace.
Anton, W.R.Q., G. Deltas, M. Khanna (2004), Incentives for Environmental Self-
Regulation and Implications for Environmental Performance. Journal of
Environmental Economics and Management 48, 632-654.
Arora, S., T.N. Cason (1995), An Experiment in Voluntary Environmental
Regulation: Participation in EPA's 33/50 Program. Journal of Environmental
Economics and Management 28, 271-286.
Beardsley s., BoNiNi s., meNdoNCa l., oppeNheim J. (2007). “A New Era for
Business,” Stanford Social Innovation Review
.http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/a_new_era_for_business/ (accessed May
Benn s., dunppy d. (2009). Organizational Change for Corporate Sustainability: A
Guide for Leaders and Change Agents of the Future - Understanding Organizational
Change, Oxon: Routledge.
Business Knowledge Source. 2009. Benefits of going green in your manufacturing.
[Online] Available at: http://businessknowledgesource.com/manufacturing.html.
Business Dictionary, http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/
Calling Green: Green Business Definition and Opportunities (2011).
Croston, G. (2009). Starting Green: An Ecopreneur’s Toolkit for Starting a Green
Business from Business Plan to Profits.Entrepreneur Press.324 p.
Daily, B.F. & Huang, S. 2001. ‘Achieving sustainability through attention to
human resource factors in environmental management’, International Journal of
Operations and Production Management, 21(12): 1539–1552.
Darnall, N., & Edwards, D. (2006). Predicting the Cost of Environmental
Management System Adoption: | 10.The Role of Capabilities, Resources and
Ownership Structure. Strategic Management Journal, 27, 301- 320.
Darnall, N., Gallagher, D., Andrews, R., &Amaral, D. (2000). Environmental
Management Systems: Opportunities for Improved Environmental and Business
Strategy. Environmental Quality Management, 9(3), 1-9.
Halkos, G.E., K.I. Evangelinos (2002), Determinants of Environmental Management
Systems Standards Implementation: Evidence from Greek Industry. Business
Strategy and the Environment 11, 360-375.
Khanna, M., L.A. Damon (1999), EPA's Voluntary 33/50 Program: Impact on Toxic
Releases and Economic Performance of Firms. Journal of Environmental Economics
and Management 37, 1-25.
Morebusiness.com. 2009. How your small business can become a green business.
[Online] Available at: http://www.morebusienss.com/green_business
Robinson, F. 2008. Going green: What does it really mean? [Online] Available
at: http:// ezinearticles.com/?Going-green!-What-does-it-reall-mean?&kd=2267926
Sharma, S., H. Vredenburg (1998), Proactive Corporate Environmental Strategy
and the Development of Competitively Valuable Organizational Capabilities.
Strategic Management Journal 19, 729-753.
Stead, W.E. & Stead, J.G. 2004. ‘Sustainable strategic management: An
evolutionary perspective’, International Journal of Sustainable Strategic
Management, 1(1): 62–81.
TerraChoiCe (2007). The “Six Sins of Greenwashing,” Terrachoice
Environmental Marketing, http:// www.terrachoice.com/files/6_sins.pdf (accessed
on June 1, 2009).
Ziegler, A., A. Eymann (2001), Zur Simulated Maximum-Likelihood-Schätzung