employer green
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How To Tell If An Employer Is Truly Green?

When environmental issues first surfaced in the late 1970s and early 80s, many of us were perplexed at what to do about these problems. Fortunately, through the vigilance of certain agencies and charities, we now have a number of lifestyle options that allow us to live in a more ecologically-friendly manner. For a large percentage of people, being green is a central point to their lives these days. Alongside buying the right products, using the correct kind of transport and educating others around them, these individuals also want to work for green companies – so what are the best ways to tell if an employer is truly green?

employer green
photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

Affiliations

Is your prospective employer linked with any green charities or organisations? There is a host of these agencies around the UK who help their members out with sustainable and ecologically-friendly business practices, such as the Green Business Network, who work with companies in Bedford, or the Energy Saving Trust. Some of these organisations provide their members with certifications and awards, based on target-driven performance, such as cutting down on their energy usage or recycling a percentage of their waste. You should always look to see if your prospective employer is a member of any such agencies, as this will demonstrate a high level or adherence to green issues.

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Awards

If a company or business is super environmentally-aware and a champion of sustainability within their sector, then they may receive a special award from the large number of committees within the UK, which include The Green Economy Awards, The Green Carpet Awards and the UK Green Energy Awards. You can be sure that if your prospective employer has one of these prestigious titles to their name, then they’re probably one of the best places in UK to work based on ecologically-friendly considerations.

Corporate Reports

Most companies now produce their own reports on their internal practices, ranging from

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performance and profit updates for their shareholders, through to documents on the impact of their procedures and practices on the environment for the benefit of people who live near a production plant or large-scale offices, which are often created to reassure residents that a business is not creating harmful emissions or waste products of any kind. Such reports, and many others like them, are usually in the public sphere and can easily be accessed – they may even be classed as sustainability reports or company responsibility reports.

Do The Research

Most information about companies and their procedures is available online. If companies have been given green awards, or are putting ecologically sound, sustainable practices into place, then they often like to shout about it, as studies have proven that all consumers are increasingly turning towards outlets and service providers that can show some green credentials. Before you go for a potential position with any employer, you should at least do a Google search on their name to see what comes up. If they do have any awards for ecologically friendly behaviour or sustainability, then why not check that these have a strong set of criteria behind them?

Transport

A green company will definitely be concerned with transport. Around a quarter of all the greenhouse gases produced annually in the UK come from the exhaust fumes of vehicles. One way in which we as a nation can cut down on our collective emissions is by using our cars less frequently. Many workers are now taking this matter into their own hands, and are choosing to ride bikes to work –  does your prospective employer respect cyclists by giving them all the necessary facilities, such as cycle shelters, showers and changing rooms, to facilitate travelling into work by cycle? Also, many companies are realising that car-pooling schemes can work for employees who have to make longer journeys to their place of employment, which can both save money and reduce exhaust emissions. You know that if a company offers such schemes, then they are taking responsibility for the wider impact of their business on the environment, which is a very good sign that they are concerned with green issues.

Ask At Interview

Too many people think that interviews are just a one-way process where a company is going to investigate what they have to offer. Don’t forget that this is also in fact a chance for you to screen the company and make sure that they fit in with all your job requirements. When they ask you if you have any questions about the job or company, then this is your moment to find out how environmentally conscious they are. The chances are that if green issues are a major concern to the company, then the fact that you’re also interested in sustainability will only be of benefit to your cause. If they object, then the chances are that they aren’t concerned by this important area, in which case you may not want to take a job with them anyway.

Use Your Own Knowledge And Intuition

If you’re well up on your green issues and sustainability practices, then you should be able to tell when something is not quite right with a company’s official line, or maybe you’ll smell a rat when they skip over certain areas of the business. Also as a general rule of thumb, if a situation sounds too good to be true, then it usually is, so if you’re being told that a company operates in a 100% sustainable manner, then this should make more alarm bells ring than one who says that their business uses sustainable materials where-ever possible – for instance in around 80% of their products. If you don’t think the company are being fully straight with you, then the chances are that they’re not.

And Finally…

Of course, don’t despair if you can’t immediately find an employer who fits your green credentials. Remember that having standards is a good thing, and that you shouldn’t compromise your own beliefs in any situation, as this is just a shortcut to unhappiness – it’s always hard to look yourself in the mirror if you’ve let things you truly care about go. Even though it can be difficult to find work in today’s tough economic conditions, you should approach your job search with the right level of resilience and tenacity, and not stop until you’ve found something that suits both your financial needs and your green beliefs. 

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

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