How do you develop “green habits” among employees?

(This post is one is a series based on the ON DEMAND Webinar: Developing Green Habits for Sustainability)

The Role of “Belief” in Changing Habits

According to Charles Duhigg, author of the book: “The Power of Habit – why we do what PowerofHabit2we do in life and business”, we need to help employees believe that they can change their habits and make a difference.

If they don’t believe, they will return to old habits, or worse yet, not even try.

So what are some of the strategies that we can use to help them believe? Here are five ideas –

    1. Show examples of others.  We see examples of this with Partners in Project Green and their Ambassador Program.  They use personal relationships and stories, real case studies, networking, breakfast presentations and webinars to highlight the samples of sustainable practices in energy, water, waste and emissions.  If you have been involved in PPG’s activities, you know how contagious the energy and optimism of these meetings can be.
    2. Do pilots and show the results.  This very act, reconfirms the expected rewards in the habit loop.  We have seen many times how companies will often gravitate to conducting pilots in one office, one plant or one building site to prove sustainable practices work and fine tune the process.
    3. Make results transparent.  The more that we can broadcast the results of a sustainability program on a regular basis, the higher the interest and reinforcement of the habit loop. Results, whether good or bad, create positive or negative feedback loops for sustainability.
    4. Do the math. Sometimes we need to demonstrate that small measures collectively can produce large effects. For example if every household in North America replaced a burned out light bulb with an Energy Star rated CFL (compact fluorescent bulb) , the cumulative effect would be the same as: 1) pulling 900,000 cars off the road or 2) providing enough energy to light 2.8 million homes. Where our individual actions sometimes seem inconsequential, our collective action can be significant.
    5. Demonstrate that the change is part of a larger movement. Few companies are as far along this continuum than Interface. See the video below from their “I am Mission Zero” initiative. Duhigg notes, “…the power of a group to teach individuals how to believe happens whenever people come together to help oneanother change. Belief is easier when it occurs within a community. “

Review the 6 key insights for the development of Green Habits in this Video & receive a copy of the presentation ON-DEMAND.

Review the 6 key insights for the development of Green Habits in this Video & receive a copy of the presentation ON-DEMAND.

Want to follow the other insights from this 40 minute Webinar. Watch the video – Developing Green Habits now ON-DEMAND

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About Kathryn Cooper

Kathryn Cooper is a committed sustainability practitioner and educator moving companies toward “green” profitability and sustainable competitive advantage by unlocking human creativity and technical innovation. Over the last two years she has had the privilege to work with companies like Dupont, Zerofootprint, WWF Canada, and Partners in Project Green on sustainability issues, best practices and renewable energy. Kathryn is a graduate of York University with a Master of Education specializing on Sustainability and the Environment. She holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph.
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