Our Planet Prince William

2019 was the second warmest year on record and the end of the warmest decade (2010- 2019) ever recorded.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rose to new records in 2019. 

If you are a small business, it’s pretty easy to put in place a simple sustainability policy that will actually save you money and not cost the Earth.

Here are just a few ideas to get started with your move towards a Greener environment, that will benefit your team, be a great incentive for new recruits and encourage environmentally conscious customers to choose you over competitors.

  1. Put in place a recycling program for bottles, plastics, paper, metal, batteries, technology, lights, packaging for toiletries and cosmetics 
  2. Issue all team members with re-useable coffee cups
  3. Use water filters on taps, no plastic bottled water 
  4. Review all appliances and ensure they are energy efficient 
  5. Provide a bicycle storage area to allow for carbon neutral commutes to work & provide bicycles for use
  6. Provide an indoor composter, or worm farms for kitchen waste
  7. Update your light bulbs to be energy efficient 
  8. Update your energy provider to a clean provider 
  9. Stock the bathrooms with recycled and eco-friendly products 
  10. Plant a Tree for every sale you make via a registered charity
  11. Host beehives on your rooftop garden or yard with a local beekeeper

To take things to the next level, you need to start to measure and reduce your carbon footprint as a business. This can get more complicated, depending on your industry however here are a few starting points:

  1. Survey your team commute to work to measure the emissions
  2. Monitor your power consumption 
  3. Implement solar panels as your source of energy (there are Government subsidies available for businesses that make this super cost efficient)
  4. Introduce a carbon offset program 

If you’d like to take control of your environmental footprint, Why Communications can help you get started with ideas and create a storytelling strategy for your stakeholders. Get in touch for more information!   

volunteer program

A great way to increase engagement with your organisational purpose and to demonstrate your social responsibility is by putting in place a formal volunteer program. Your employees can take time out from their day to day activities at work to give back to the community or environment in which your organisation operates. This can not only be a rewarding experience promoting wellness and connection at an individual level, but also provide a great opportunity for storytelling to your stakeholders.   

Below is a summary of how to put together a volunteer program for your small business: 

1. Objectives of a Volunteer Program 

Connecting your program with your organisational purpose is the optimal way to ensure relevance. If this is a little tricky, putting some effort into finding causes and community activities that align with your CSR strategy or business activities really makes a difference. You could consider aligning yourself with one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
If you don’t have a strategy in place for a purposeful partnership with a relevant cause that brings value to your organisation please get in touch and we can help you.  

Further considerations:

  • Will volunteer activities be based on employee expertise and skills or focus on more operational work (such as volunteering at food programs, environmental clean-ups, hospital visits).
  • Is your project a one-off effort or will it offer on-going support over a period of time. If so, think about how you will organise your team accordingly to ensure that the goals of the volunteer program are met.
  • How much time are you allocating for each employee each month or year. Articulate this in job contracts and advertisements and stand by your promise! 
  • What will be your impact? How will you measure the benefit on the community or environment so you can report back to stakeholders? This is such an important factor that is often not considered within volunteer programs. For example, how many trees did your team plant, how many hungry people did they feed, how much money did they save a charity on professional services which could now be spent on addressing the core purpose of the organisation and so on. 

2. Administration of program

The host organisation that your employees work for must provide the following information for compliance:

Role descriptions: 

It is vital to ensure that the expectations of your volunteer host organisation and your volunteers are met. The best way to provide structure to a program is to ensure your host organisation provides role descriptions that outline the responsibilities, skills and the estimated hours needed to fulfill the project. 

Work health and safety compliance: 

In order to ensure the safety and rights of your employees there must be policies and procedures in place. Any volunteer program must comply with Work Health and Safety Legislation. This needs to be accessible to all participants. This includes ensuring that sufficient supervision is provided during the program as required.  

3. Maximising engagement

  • Before starting make sure your team are all on board with the program objectives, enthusiastic and happy to positively contribute to the project. 
  • Hold a briefing session before the start of the program, share stories from the host organisation that demonstrates the impact your volunteers will be having by giving up their precious time.
  • Never tell your employees to ‘make up time’ or expect that they should work extra hours to cover the time spent on the program.  
  • Ask program participants to take photos and videos of their experiences to post on social media and include in other communication. Always check with the host organisation beforehand! 

4. Program storytelling

Ask your team members to write a blog post, contribute to social media posts or run an internal lunchtime show and tell about their experience. Share your content with the host organisation for cross promotion and if you have an amazing story to tell consider a purpose-driven PR strategy. If you’d like to discuss how to create a purpose-driven volunteer program that generates impact stories please get in touch!

Women with camera

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today

Robert McKee, Author, Storytelling Lecturer

Every business has a story to tell! Not sure what this means? A good start is to consider what the purpose of your business is, why do you exist and what drives you and your team.

To help you get started we have provided a tool that you can download below for free.

Why Comms would love to help you to develop strategies to engage with your audience and make positive change for the community and/or environment. Please get in touch and see how we can help bring your story to life.