How Sift’s internal Green Team are driving sustainable changes

Published on in Planning and Resilience by Sift.

Many businesses recognise that having a Green Team is a good way to ensure sustainability stays on the agenda, but how does it actually work in practice? This case study looks at how Sift recruit and maintain their office eco team.

One of Sift's Green Team initiatives was to use the old personal wastebaskets as plant pots!

"The GreenerSift Team has been successful without a budget, as most decisions have been cost neutral so far"

Ben Heald, CEO, Sift

Sift simply asked for volunteers to start a GreenerSift Team. Now there are eight members representing all departments, from new members of staff to long term employees. The team meet every fortnight for 30 minutes, which they decided was more productive than meeting one hour per month.

Initially they gathered together a list of possible actions, then prioritised those that they felt were achievable.  A longer list is still maintained, but they recently agreed to consider no more than two topics each time they meet.

They found that a consensus approach to decision making is possible with such a small group, with each person leading on a particular item.  For example, at the last meeting they decided to commit to buying organic milk, and one of the team is working with their Finance team on converting from their previous supplier. At Sift’s summer party last year, to encourage the rest of the staff to get engaged, the GreenerSift Team set out why they all felt it was important for Sift to be greener.

The GreenerSift Team has been successful without a budget as most decisions have been cost neutral so far.  To date the team has implemented shared divisional bins with improved recycling signage (converting old bins into plant containers), duplex printing and increased cycle storage. The additional bike cage requested by the team cost a few thousand pounds, so this was the main thing that had to be considered by Finance.

Recently an HR representative in the GreenerSift Team suggested that green objectives be included in the team’s personal objectives for 2015, in order to support the time commitment they are giving to the project. This has been supported by the line managers, who view it as really positive that some of their team are so passionate about helping Sift become greener.

This case study shows that it’s not having a big budget, but enthusiasm and overall company buy-in that counts. Ben Heald, CEO of Sift said engaging their staff with their green projects has added benefits, saying: “I think it taps into a wider view here that the green agenda is important; particularly when you’re hiring lots of new staff, who are looking to work for a company that cares”.

Well done Sift, we look forward to hearing how you are getting on with your next project!