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On the 5th June, people around the globe people are using World Environment Day as a platform to raise awareness of climate issues and encourage proactive action to safeguard our environment as part of the #OnlyOneEarth theme. 

Rightfully so, businesses are finally addressing the importance of sustainability across their entire operation. Alongside being a growing factor in consumer decision-making, it also plays a role for prospective and current employees. Not only is it a fundamental concern for our planet, but it’s a business necessity. 

However, as sustainability expert and CEO of CauliBox, Jo Liang points out, organizations do not always know how to build the infrastructure to make sustainability easy for employees to incorporate into their daily routine. 

“To many, “sustainability” is still quite an abstract concept, especially at work. Teams might hear their leaders talk about sustainable supply chains, but this doesn’t translate into the day-to-day actions they can take to play their part. It can be especially confusing when organizations profess their sustainability credentials, but continue to use an abundance of single-use plastics in the on-site catering, for example,” highlights Jo. 

Throughout Jo’s career she has worked with corporations (including Unilever & Sainsbury’s), local authorities (Camden council) and higher educational institutes (London School of Economics) as well as numerous food enterprises such as Costa, Too Good To Go and OLIO in cutting food waste and advising on sustainable development. As such, she was awarded a special “Women in Food” award by the Mayor of London in 2019 and was named on Forbes 30 under 30 in 2021.

This World Environment Day Jo has provided five top tips for organizations looking to build the infrastructure for their teams to easily embed sustainability into their daily routines: 

Use tech solutions

Consider embedding practical tech solutions, like apps, QR scanning and webapps in your solutions. By using these every day, knowledge is reinforced and team members are more likely to build long-lasting habits. This doesn’t have to be a bespoke solution, it could be integrated into wider-company apps or intranets to make it even easier for teams to access. 

Include rewards 

It is not always easy to make people act outside of their ordinary routines. Sometimes a little reward can go a long way to easing this transition. This could be points-based, a league table, discounts or merchandise – it’s entirely dependent on your team. Whatever you opt for, it needs to be inclusive and friendly otherwise you will deter people from getting involved. 

Make it as simple as possible 

While many people want to reduce their impact on the environment, unless sustainable options are provided as the default it can be difficult to change old habits, especially during the busy workday. By providing solutions that seamlessly integrate into the workplace, you are enabling your employees to effortlessly make a sustainable choice, before they even have to think about doing it. This could be providing reusables as standard in your catering facilities rather than single-use containers.

Correctly dispose of waste

There’s a lot of confusion about how different materials can be correctly disposed of. We all know about the importance of recycling, but misconceptions can mean behaviour continues to be unsustainable. While the ultimate goal for your workplace should be to reduce the amount of waste you are generating, making sure your teams are properly educated on what can be recycled, reused or composted – and providing the appropriate waste bins – can go a long way to helping make your workplace a greener one 

Use real time data to reinforce impact 

Packaging is one of the biggest sources of waste in our world, creating about 11 billion pieces of rubbish each year. Food-to-go containers are something you might hold in your hand for five minutes, but will take hundreds of years to resolve. Placing reminders such as these around your workplace aren’t intended to make your staff feel bad, but it will help illustrate the importance of making sustainable changes, bringing the message home to people and enabling them to make more thoughtful decisions. 

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