Going Beyond Green Teams at Hydro One
By Adrienne Lo, Head of Living Planet @ Work, WWF-Canada
At some point, grassroots green teams will reach a ceiling where they can’t do more unless they are more formally recognized and supported within the organization. Just like anything else, if you want something to grow and succeed, it needs to be nurtured and cultivated.
The term ‘green team’ is everywhere. I read about them, I research them, I work with them. We have over 250 companies signed up to our Living Planet @ Work program (and growing!) and the majority of them have some form of a ‘green team’.
This is a hopeful and promising sign of the times highlighting how employees are rising to the challenge. And we now see companies helping to take them to the next level since there’s an obvious win-win situation here: employees want to do more for the environment so why not channel and harness this desire to support the company’s overall sustainability vision and strategy?
And this is what Hydro One is doing. They recognize that for their green teams to thrive, align with and contribute to broader corporate goals, they must exist in an integrated system within the organization. To address this, the company has developed a tri-level approach that defines and guides their overall environmental sustainability efforts, with resources and support at each level to action initiatives.
Organizational-level efforts consist of:
- Developing the corporate vision and strategy
- Creating policy, governance and reporting structures
- Sourcing and allocating resources
Technical initiatives include:
- Energy audits, building design and retrofits
- The purchase, replacement and management of IT equipment and processes
- Fleet management
Finally, behavioural initiatives comprise of:
- Awareness and engagement such as Earth Hour activities, contests, bike clinics
- Education through lunch and learns, employee communications and training
- Recognition programs such as employee awards and profiles
So where do green teams fit in? Well, all of the above!
"Green teams will often start off focused mainly on locally driven behavioural opportunities, but as employee engagement increases, so will the scope of the green team’s efforts. Successful green teams grow in such a way that their work inevitably intersects with other areas of business operation."
Forward-thinking companies like Hydro One are figuring out what will work for them - but it doesn’t happen overnight. What we do know is that the green teams can’t succeed in isolation from the rest of the company. Thinking about how your green team will collaborate with different sections of your organization early on will help make the team successful.
Does your company have a green team? How does it fit in with the rest of the organization? We want to hear from you, share ideas and tell your story.