Passing the Technical Torch: Making Earth Day Relevant to Your Company

Sharon Nunes

April 19, 2010

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In just a few days, the 40th annual Earth Day will be celebrated in schools around the country with students of all ages learning about the environment and what they can do to sustain our planet. Whether classrooms will choose to clean up their school communities, start a recycling program or share tips to conserve the earth’s natural resources, improving the environment will be the primary focus.

But what will your company do both internally and externally to emphasize the importance of taking care of our planet? Even more so, will you continue to take action year round?

While these questions are not new, they’ve never been more prevalent than today. And despite the overwhelming evidence that we need to reduce, reuse and recycle now more than ever if we’re interested in the health of our planet, some still don’t see the urgency of recycling and conserving �" of changing our habits and our lifestyles to reduce waste and to ensure a sustainable ecosystem for the future.

For example, today, 41 percent of the Earth’s population lives in water-stressed areas, with millions lacking access to safe, clean water each day. The United States sees about 76 million cases of food-borne illnesses annually. And, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, residents, institutions, commercial businesses and industries generated approximately 37.2 millions tons of solid waste within the state in 2004 alone.

As alarming as these statistics may seem, it’s not too late for you and your organization to support environmentally sound practices, educate employees and make an effort to take care of our planet by following these steps.

Take on conservation internally

Research manufacturing practices to cut costs and consumption to see where improvements can be made. By reducing the amount of water that is wasted, we are helping to minimize chemical treatment and processing as well as energy to move the water to the end user. Focus can also be put on reducing carbon emissions by making manufacturing and energy usage more efficient. Additionally, as employees learn more about helping the environment, most will share the information with their family and friends.

Involve the community

Getting involved with a local environmental organization will allow you to offer your valuable company resources and network to the community, and to reiterate your commitment to helping the environment locally. Consider activities like hosting a community clean up or adopting a highway. Also brainstorm local events to host for educating the community about how they can help the environment. The more the community becomes involved, the more exposure�"and help�"your projects will get. Not to mention, awareness will spread throughout the community.

Collaborate with colleagues

Whether you choose to collaborate with colleagues within your company or across your network, there is strength in numbers. By putting your resources together, you can create a more solid foundation for making the environment part of your corporate agenda. The partnership to help the environment can also open the door to more collaborations and networking.

In essence, establishing a commitment to the environment within your company will not only get the attention of other companies and organizations, but also the community as well, who will soon catch on. Helping to improve the environment takes one step in the right direction, but that one step can lead to hundreds more.

Sharon L. Nunes
Vice President, Big Green Innovations, IBM
Please send your comments, insights and questions:
[email protected]

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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