‘Working together on sustainability’

3 March 2017

‘Being part of the Green Team has enriched me. I believe in the power of a group of people finding one another in a shared vision and passion.’

‘I work as a senior product developer at the Innovation Centre in Wageningen (NL). About three years ago, I was asked to set up a Green Team here in cooperation with a colleague. Our first response was: ‘A what?’ We were told that a Green Team consists of enthusiastic employees who think about and contribute to sustainable developments.’

Wake-up call

‘It appeared that other R&D colleagues were also eager to commit themselves to sustainability. The objective of our first initiative was to give our colleagues in Wageningen a wake-up call. We collected all paper cups used in a week and put them near the reception desk. As we expected, everyone was shocked. Our message was that everyone can contribute to reducing this enormous quantity by, for instance, using a paper cup twice or by bringing a ceramic mug from home. Within a week we already noticed a difference. Then we, the Green Team, made a tour through the building and served tea, coffee and gave cookies to those who had brought mugs from home. This created a friendly and warm atmosphere.’

Serving tea, coffee and cookies to colleagues who brought their own coffee mug

Silent auction

‘As Green Team we also want to promote participation in society. Therefore we organise a ‘silent auction’ for the Red Cross every six months. A short explanation: we display items on a table for which colleagues can make bids by writing down an amount and their name on a piece of paper and putting this into an empty milk carton. The person with the highest bid receives the item! I think this is a genuine win-win situation, because it’s not a lot of work for us as Green Team, the great number of bids shows that this action is really appreciated and, above all, we collect money for a good cause.’

The silent auction

Clean-up walk

‘We also organise a ‘clean-up walk’ around the Innovation Centre two times a year. At first sight, the premises look clean, but when you take a closer look, you will notice candy wrappings, cans and cigarette packages on the ground. During the first clean-up walk, the three of us collected 20 kilos of waste; the last time we were with 20 people and we picked up 60 kilos from the street. I would like to see that every time more colleagues join us in this action. It’s a good example of how we can give something in return to our direct living environment in just an hour and at the same time get a breath of fresh air too!’

Proud

‘Looking back, I have experienced that the R&D colleagues in Wageningen, on the one hand, are critical, but that on the other hand they actually are willing to change their behaviour. What we have achieved as Green Team would never have been possible if our colleagues had not warmly embraced our initiatives. I am proud of how we are working on sustainability together and of our achievements.’

– Julia Ladiges