EPA supported National Green Teams Programme helps build sustainable business from the frontline

Following its successful launch in 2017, the Green Teams National Programme continues to support green teams and environmental champions through training and resources to help spearhead sustainability improvement in the workplace (www.greenteams.ie). A total of 36 environmental champions have taken part in the Programme to date from sectors including food processing, local authorities, third level education and retail, representing organisations such as Rosderra Irish Meats, Roscommon County Council, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Brown Thomas Arnotts.

Supported by the EPA and delivered by WIT and eco-management specialists, Consulteco, the Programme offers training, knowledge and resources to workplace environmental champions to help accelerate the adoption of sustainability practices in the workplace and the community, ultimately helping to improve resource and business

efficiency. Tom O’Brien, Lecturer in the Environmental Performance of Buildings at Waterford Institute of Technology, who helped design the programme commented “Effective staff engagement is necessary to bring about resource efficiency improvements in the workplace and the Green Teams National Programme provides teams and champions with the means to engage and inspire fellow staff, leading to real improvements for the organisation, the environment and the community.”

Rosderra Irish Meats was one of the first organisations to take part in the programme, and as part of their Green Teams Project, the Rosderra team achieved reductions in waste of just under 18 tonnes in one year by working with suppliers to reduce unnecessary packaging on incoming deliveries and minimising the volume of Rosderra own-product packaging which went to waste. In a parallel ‘Lean’ project on the use of pallets, a more stringent return and stock control policy achieved a dramatic increase in the number of pallets being returned into the system with a saving of €117,000 and 28,000 pallets per year. “Without greater awareness and engagement from staff neither of these initiatives would have been as successful,” said Environmental Manager at Rosderra, John O’Connor. “The Green Teams Programme gave us a good grounding on how to get fellow staff on board, and we will continue to use the knowledge and skills learned to lead future Green Team initiatives.”

Another Green Teams Project by the WIT team, saw the development of an Energy Audit Protocol for Waterford Institute of Technology, compliant with its ISO 50001 strategy. WIT was the first institute of technology in Ireland to be certified to the international best practice energy management system, underlining WIT as an energy leader, and demonstrating the efforts that staff and students have gone to in helping manage energy consumption.

Without sustained behaviour change from staff, even the best planned sustainability strategy can fail. The Green Teams National Programme was established to support environmental champions in the workplace to help bring about this change. The Programme helps organisations respond to rising utility and raw material and costs, increasing environmental regulations and greater consumer demands which are putting pressure on companies to further improve their sustainability performance. The training and support offered provides green team members and champions with a strong grounding in resource efficiency, helps them identify opportunities to save energy, water and materials and enables them to bring about positive change in the workplace by bringing their colleagues on board. For more information about the programme, visit www.greenteams.ie

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