An April 2007 survey by Adecco, an international HR company, found that 52 percent of employed adults felt their companies should do more to be environmentally friendly. "Green Teams", a formal or informal group of people in a company who are passionate about environmental issues, are gathering in offices across America to brainstorm solutions and promote ways in which their company's practices can become more environmentally sustainable.
Green teams develop in any number of ways: sometimes they're convened by top management at large companies as part of a corporate sustainability initiative, but also common are self-started groups that build momentum and are incorporated into a company's structure.
However they come together, these groups offer many benefits to their companies. By uniting like-minded folks who are passionate about the environment, employees can increase the sense of community as well as employee engagement in the company. When employees get excited about something at the workplace -- even something not directly related to their jobs, this passion can spill over to existing projects, infusing more productivity.
Green teams can also help companies attract and retain top talent: The 2007 Adecco HR survey also shows a trend that companies are highlighting their green activities to market themselves and attract new employees. In a separate survey, commissioned by National Geographic magazine in Feb 2008, more than 80 percent of U.S. workers polled said they believe it is important to work for a company or organization that makes the environment a top priority.
Every Green Team has its own history, its own processes and its own successes and challenges. This article explores the activities of three teams -- from the online world, biotechnology, and architecture -- in a variety of industries as they travel on the journey of creating change in their companies.
Making the Sale at eBay
eBay's Green Team formed one year ago and currently has 1182 members worldwide. The team started out at the San Jose location and has expanded globally with members from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. The effort has sparked eBay's employee engagement as many employees welcomed the opportunity to gather, discuss, and learn about environmental issues.
Many meetings are structured around employee ideas for addressing environmental concerns. Some key activities the eBay Green Team has sponsored include: solar employee incentive program, preferred parking for hybrid vehicles, CFL bulb and reusable shopping totes giveaways, a program to calculate carbon footprints and discussion on the process of carbon offsets, and a Funky Mug contest, in which employees brought in unwanted mugs from home and voted for their favorite.