A sustainable workplace culture means emphasizing environmental, social, and economic mindfulness in every aspect of business. It must align with the goals of sustainable business practices — meaning meeting your present needs without making it hard for future generations to meet theirs.

A sustainable workplace culture extends its influence beyond the company itself, positively affecting employees, communities and the broader environment. Additionally, it promotes responsible consumption and production, leading to community benefits like new job opportunities and support for local initiatives.

It’s also a market differentiator, positively impacting communities and business performance. Companies prioritizing sustainability see better stakeholder engagement, accountability and financial outcomes.

Energy conservation

Energy conservation may seem like a big task, but it’s one of the most critical aspects in reducing carbon footprint and decreasing costs.

Here are some easy ways businesses can get started:

  • Encourage employees to switch off lights, computers and other equipment when not in use.
  • Replace old appliances with energy-efficient models. Look for those with an Energy Star rating.
  • Implement solar energy. Solar design software solutions help businesses create and implement solar systems to optimize their specific needs, such as roof mounts.
  • Invest in energy audits to identify energy waste and inefficiency areas and make targeted changes.

While some changes may take more time, effort and money upfront, they have long-term benefits.


Education is key when implementing new changes or initiatives, which also holds true for sustainability. Here are some ways to educate your employees:

  • Conduct workshops and training programs on the importance of sustainability and how to contribute.
  • Provide continuous learning opportunities through online courses, webinars and resources.
  • Invite experts to speak to your employees about the latest sustainability trends and best practices.

Educating employees empowers them to implement green practices at work and in their personal lives.

Accessible recycling system

An accessible recycling system is not just a box to tick but a crucial element. By making recycling effortless, you actively reduce waste and champion responsible consumption.

Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Use highly visible signs to indicate where recycling bins are and what materials can be recycled.
  • Place recycling bins in multiple locations throughout the workplace. A few good spots are near desks, the kitchen and breakroom and by the entrance/exit.
  • Implement a composting program to divert office waste from landfills and create nutrient-rich soil for gardening projects.

A successful recycling program reduces waste while giving everyone a sense of pride in contributing.


By transforming physical documents into digital ones, businesses can break free from paper, saving trees and shrinking their carbon footprint. Likewise, digitization promotes efficiency and productivity, making information storage, access and sharing easy.

Here are some things that should be digitized and how to do it:

  • Convert all physical documents and files into digital forms. Use document scanning services or devices to do this.
  • Instead of traveling for meetings or conferences, consider using digital platforms to reduce emissions associated with travel.
  • Switch to electronic invoicing and billing to eliminate the need for paper bills.

Invest in the right tech to implement digitization and provide employees with the necessary training.

Reusables and recyclables

There are many options for using recyclable or reusable items. Here are some that may be useful at work:

  • Encourage employees to use reusable dishware instead of disposable ones.
  • Consider using reusable cloth towels in breakrooms and restrooms.
  • Use refillable pens and markers instead of disposable ones.

To encourage the use of these items, provide them to employees as gifts or incentives.

Access to drinks

Everyone enjoys a good beverage throughout the day, and providing access to these resources promotes sustainability while improving employee satisfaction:

  • Install water refill stations in the workplace to encourage employees to use reusable water bottles.
  • Invest in a good coffee machine and provide employees with reusable mugs.
  • If possible, switch to filtered tap water instead of bottled water for meetings and events.

This way, everyone gets their daily beverage while practicing sustainability.

Donation of unneeded technology and supplies

Donating unneeded technology and supplies declutters the office and extends the life of these items. Here are some donation options:

  • Donate laptops, desktops, servers and other tech equipment to help those in need via Computers with Causes or Good360.
  • Contact local schools, libraries or nonprofit organizations to see if they accept office supplies or surplus technology donations.
  • Your local Goodwill will happily take used computers and electronic equipment if it’s in good working condition.

If you need more clarification about the condition of your supplies or technology, consider getting them refurbished before donating.

Public transportation incentives

Encouraging your team to use public transportation reduces carbon emissions and saves employees money on transportation costs. Here are some incentives to promote public transit:

  • Offer discounted or free transit passes to your employees.
  • Consider flexible work schedules so employees can commute during off-peak hours.
  • Offer pre-tax commuter benefits for public transit.

These may only work for some, but providing a range of options can motivate employees to try them out.

Support for diverse commute methods

Promoting diverse commute methods ensures everyone can choose their preferred transportation. Here are a few ways to start:

  • Install bike racks.
  • Provide showers and lockers for those who bike or walk.
  • Implement a carpool matching program to help employees find others with similar commutes.

These options help reduce emissions and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Composting and gardening

Incorporating composting and gardening into daily office life can seem impossible, but simple ways exist:

  • Host workshops to educate employees about gardening and composting.
  • Set up a compost bin in the office kitchen for food scraps.
  • Use the compost to start a garden at your workplace.

Start small and involve employees in the process so everyone understands it well.

Eco-friendly products

Eco-friendly products made from sustainable materials use less energy and create less waste than traditional products. Here are some examples:

  • Companies like Seventh Generation offer eco-friendly cleaning products that are biodegradable and chemical-free.
  • Purchase office furniture made from reclaimed or sustainably sourced materials.

By opting for these items, you’re saving resources and protecting the environment.

Fun and gamification

Making sustainable business practices fun adds another level of employee participation. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Organize competitions between teams or departments to see who can save the most energy or produce the least waste.
  • Start a rewards system for sustainable behaviors. For example, employees could earn points for biking to work or using reusable water bottles to exchange for prizes.

The rewards don’t have to be extravagant and can accompany your sustainability efforts.

Green teams

A green team is a group focused on implementing and promoting sustainable practices within a company. They might organize educational workshops on sustainability, implement recycling programs and advocate for sustainable procurement practices.

To create your green team, start by identifying passionate employees willing to take on this role and work together to develop a sustainable plan for your business.

Incentivization of volunteer work

Incentivizing volunteer work helps bring your sustainability efforts outside of the workplace. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Offer employees paid hours or days per year to volunteer for sustainability-related causes.
  • Match employee donations to environmental nonprofits.
  • Reward those who volunteer their time for sustainability efforts.

This offers a sense of community and purpose among employees.

Partnership with other green businesses

Partnering with green businesses can accelerate your sustainability efforts and goal achievement. Find like-minded companies and establish clear goals and communication channels for a successful collaboration.

For example, consider doing the following:

  • Partner with a sustainable energy company to switch to renewable energy sources.
  • Collaborate with an eco-friendly product supplier to source sustainable office supplies.
  • Work with green transportation companies for employee commuting options.

A sustainable workplace culture ultimately means moving away from a business-as-usual mindset to a more collaborative, nature-centered worldview.