Held on June 5th every year, World Environment Day was designated by the UN in 1972 to stimulate action on the environment and empower people from every corner of the planet to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development. Conveniently, Canadian Environment Week takes place the first week of June to coincide with World Environment Day.
There are many things that you can do in your workplace to recognize Canadian Environment Week and World Environment Day. For example, you can encourage employees to make a commitment—for a day, week, month, year or life—to do something specific to reduce their environmental footprint at work and/or at home.
The WWF Living Planet @ Work suggests that employees pledge to:
- Bring a waste-free lunch every day this week
- Go water-bottle free for as long as you can—bring a reusable bottle to work
- Eat vegetarian for a day or an entire week, or allocate one day per week where you eat only vegetarian
- Walk, bike or carpool to work at least once this week, and try to incorporate it into your regular routine
- Reduce packaging waste by bringing reusable containers, eating out less often and buying in bulk when possible
- Switch off all of the lights and non-essential electronic equipment when you leave a room
- Teach others about properly recycling e-waste
- Learn more about your impact on the environment by taking a course or studying online
- Properly recycle and compost at home
- Bring a reusable mug with you to work every day
- Take a shorter shower
- Turn off your power bar when not using electronic equipment to save energy
- Recycle your batteries and ink cartridges responsibly
- Use reusable bags when grocery shopping
- Print using both sides of the paper at work and at home
- Give up coffee for a week to reduce your water footprint.
Steps you can take to promote “pledge day” in the workplace include:
- Send out an e-mail to all employees introducing the pledge day.
- Create a poster(s) for employees to write their pledges on (download a PDF of a poster you can use below). Place it in the reception area or cafeteria so everyone can see as they walk by.
- During the lunch hour, host a booth in the lobby where the poster is. To attract more attention, consider bringing some baked goods or other food to give away.
- Get employees to write their pledges on the poster. Post some examples of what a pledge looks like so employees can follow suit.
- During the week, leave the materials out so people can write a pledge at their convenience.
- Take pictures of people writing pledges, and take a picture of the board on pledge day and throughout the week.