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A generation of living in a throw-away culture has made it difficult for people to accept that our resources are finite.
But the Green Heart award has been launched this year to recognise the eco-heroes who implement green changes within the office environment.
Once people see that wasting less, buying eco-efficient products, reusing and recycling not only saves trees, energy and water but can actually save jobs by ensuring the organisation’s financial health, it suddenly has personal meaning.
That’s why we celebrate Green Office Week (GOW) annually to demonstrate the need to change from ego-living to eco-living: materialism and consumerism has to be replaced with thoughtful purchasing.
Sustainability issues are top of the agenda and whether the organisation is large or small, “green” behaviours have to form part of everyone’s work habits.
GOW takes place from Monday April 16 to Friday April 20 with the theme, You make a difference.
Ana-Maria Valente, Green Office Week spokeswoman, says: “The week aims to get all of us, at our workplaces, to look or relook at how we can recycle, reduce and reuse more, and save more.
“Our goal is to get everyone involved – it is not just about the executive suite; it’s about Joe on the third floor and Thandi the PA and Iviwe in graphics, Pamela in accounts, and Suzette the events co-ordinator and David the stationery buyer.”
To make the planning of activities as simple as possible, all the tips and ideas that you and your colleagues need to get started can be downloaded free from the website www.greenofficeweek.co.za
For example, on April 16, the suggestion is to make a difference by finding more ways to save on printing with practical ideas like greyscale printing documents for in-house use; make a difference on Wednesday by driving green – take all that extra stuff out of your car boot, it saves on fuel.
Europcar is the lead sponsor of GOW, and its chief executive, Dawn Nathan-Jones, says: “Once again Europcar is pleased to be the lead sponsor of GOW, the initiative that aims to achieve change in people’s behaviours at the office.
“We support the theme, You make a difference, as we know that individuals together with decision-makers make a real difference.
“We believe that green is not just a matter of the mind but also of the heart, and when people feel that going green is relevant it is easier to get their commitment and involvement.
“This year’s toolkit for the week also includes driving green tips, and this is an area particularly close to our hearts.
“Europcar takes this opportunity to encourage as many people at work as possible to join in and make GOW a truly meaningful event.”
Valente says: “We know that time is limited for most working people so the obvious thing to do is to make green office behaviours as easy as possible by providing samples of action plans that cover the key areas where everybody – from the tea lady to the executive suite – can start going green.”
Green Office Week in SA is endorsed by SACCI, AHI and IPM and supported by SAQI.
The goodwill ambassador of the campaign is Professor Mervyn King, one of the world’s most respected figures on sustainability issues.
l To find out more about Green Office Week, or to enter a colleague to win great prizes, visit the website.
For tips and updates, like our facebook page, follow GOW on twitter @greenofficeweek and visit www.greenofficeweek.co.za for the toolkit.