Companies with experience in sustainability initiatives know the value of “green teams” – cross-functional groups that steer sustainability initiatives to successful outcomes. Companies that are just starting down the road of sustainability (managing environmental outcomes for maximum benefit) can learn from the experience of sustainability leaders and put these teams in place before the work starts. In fact, these teams will help decide what the “work” looks like. Here are a few of the other things green teams can do:
- gather information and inform company leadership about issues
- build the business case for investments in sustainability
- establish the scope of sustainability work – in terms of issues to be covered and areas of the business that will be engaged
- define goals and timelines
- establish actionable metrics
- decided upon reporting protocols
- informally communicate efforts and achievements to internal stakeholders
- answer questions about sustainability issues, company positions and actions being taken.
With this sort of charter, one can see the potentially valuable role that these groups can play. It’s a way to bring focus to sustainability work and embed it in the many corporate functions that need to be involved. In a large, matrixed organization, green teams are essential to success in environmental sustainability.
Green teams work best when they are:
- cross-functional and diverse, with members representing a wide variety of stakeholders:
- supply chain management
- real estate/facilities management
- given a clear, concise, consensus-driven mandate described in a written charter
- backed by C-suite members
- led by someone with a passion for sustainability and a collaborative mindset
- helping “distribute” and prioritize corporate-level goals throughout the organization
- fielding organic ideas and suggestions for new work
- celebrated and rewarded for their efforts and achievements
We know that sustainability work is a heavy lift for many companies, even when it’s limited to environmental issues. Using “green teams” helps advance progress, improve outcomes and create engagement opportunities for a diverse set of employees.