Environmental awareness begins at the office (en)
The International Trade Centre (ITC) has long been part of the global movement to protect the environment. For example, mainstreaming of environmental issues is a requirement for the development of new programmes and projects. Since the spring of 2017, the organization has moved a step ahead with the launch of the ITC Greening Initiative (GI).
What started as the Waste Initiative in 2017, initiated by a group of motivated interns, has grown to become one of the most active intern initiatives at ITC. Through the initiative, interns are working to make the organization more environmentally aware in its daily operations. This includes reducing ITC’s waste and environmental impact, but also providing alternatives to lessen its ecological footprint.
The GI’s vision places ITC staff at the core of its activities. It is therefore important for those involved in the initiative to understand the reasoning behind people’s environmental behaviour (choices and decision-making) and how we can encourage and motivate our fellow workers to be more conscious of their actions. Thus, the GI is not meant to judge but to raise awareness on more sustainable behaviour and to provide concrete alternatives and solutions.
With three different working groups constantly active under this initiative, the GI covers a plethora of spheres when it comes to sustainability in the workspace. Its umbrella encompasses the Office Team (saving power, reducing printing etc.), the Waste Team (separation of trash, disposal of batteries etc.) and the Cafeteria Team (for example, reducing plastic and paper in the cafeteria). With weekly meetings and regular events, the GI has commanded a strong presence in ITC within the last year. To add to its many achievements, as of August 2018, the GI became part of ITC’s Innovation Lab, thereby no longer making it solely an intern initiative but an organization-wide initiative.
Since 2017, the GI has set up bins for paper waste in offices; posted reminder stickers to switch off bathroom lights; donated old office supplies to charitable organization; conducted awareness campaigns; and taken stands on issues such as the impact of paper cups, coffee capsules and energy consumption. The team is constantly brainstorming on how to improve the ITC ecosystem and hence has projects including introduction of alternatives to plastic in the cafeteria; food waste management; reduction of printing; and improved system of trash separation in the pipeline.
Adding one more feather to its cap, the GI recently introduced bamboo cups in the cafeteria as a replacement for paper cups. The first sale of the cups was organized on Wednesday 26 September at ITC and the entire stock was sold out within the first hour. Due to very high demand, the GI will organize at least one more sale for which it has already placed its second order with ITC´s cafeteria provider.
Remember to always #thinkgreen!