The Human Factors in “Green”

By Ralph Salisbury

Educating, Monitoring, Practicing

Green initiatives abound today; Green practices do not. Initiatives are instituted, practices begun, but the monitoring is forgotten. Green proponents implement programs but tend to focus on the concept of the program rather than the reality of the responsibilities required to make the program effective. An effective Green program will provide for both education and monitoring. For Green products, such as binder covers, table-top accessories, menu covers, and presentation folders, staff must be provided with instructions for the proper care of and the proper disposal of these items. Instructions should be educational in nature, not dictatorial. Both of these requirements, proper care and proper disposal, can only be met by educating, supporting, and monitoring staff’s contributions…the human factors in “Green”.

Educating staff makes economic sense. Care reduces replacement requirements, Conservation reduces expenses, and Caring (monitoring) ensures both conservation and care. Think of it as the three ‘C’s of Green: Care – Conservation – Caring

Product care makes significant contributions to a Green initiative. A durable Green product is designed and constructed for long-term use. Proper care is required for longevity. Your staff must be educated on the care of the product. Purchasing a Green product is not an end in fulfilling a Green initiative. The Green aspect of the initiative becomes real only when long-life is achieved. Responsible vendors provide Care Instructions in all orders. These instructions must be specific to the product ordered such as metal binder covers, or wood menu covers. The care for metal is much different than the care for wood.

Always verify that appropriate care instructions accompany orders. Carefully educate your staff on the required care, and have your staff’s actions monitored by continual follow-up. Staff will soon learn that you are serious about your investment and have a genuine environmental concern. Equally important, your actions will create more environmentally concerned citizens…your staff.

A productive and responsive staff results from tactful education which includes providing a sense of importance to their tasks together with an acknowledgement of their contributions to corporate policy.

Purchasing implies Disposing…

When purchasing accessory items, such as table-top displays, “Reducing Your Carbon Footprint” entails more than just purchasing eco-friendly items. Your carbon footprint” is determined as much by your disposal practices as by your purchasing practices. Proper disposal requires that the unmistakable distinction between disposables and recyclables be firmly understood and appreciated. A disposable is trash (hopefully eco-friendly trash). A recyclable is not trash. A recyclable has value. Your staff must be educated about both the intrinsic value and the environmental value that recyclables offer.

Disposal practices must be monitored. …no task should be below management.

Once your staff has been educated and is able to make the distinction between a disposable and a recyclable, it becomes management’s responsibility to monitor its staff’s disposal practices. Reinforcing education and policy through responsible monitoring creates ongoing responsible practices that soon lessens the need for such a monitoring program. Monitoring should not be viewed a policing. Its purpose is it to reinforce education and more importantly, strengthen staff’s belief in management’s commitment. Proper monitoring instills a stronger sense of value in staff’s daily responsibilities. Management must set examples through its behavior and practices. If a manager observes an improper disposal practice, the error should be corrected by that manager with staff present. When it comes to educating and monitoring staff, no task should be below management. Setting example through management’s behavior and practices is invaluable.

Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved< Did you know that Eco-friendly products are now Design-friendly. Creative, unique, and durable binder covers, presentation folders, menu covers, and table-top accessories can be found at: