How to Promote Environmental Awareness in the Workplace

May 19, 2023
Clock Icon 5 min read

We each have a responsibility to protect the environment, not just for ourselves, but for all those around us, both now and in the future. Change is required on a large scale, therefore, it is vital that we not only make positive changes in our personal lives, but also in our working lives, regardless of our industry, workplace setting or the level at which we work. 

In this article, we will outline what environmental awareness means and the important role it plays within the workplace. We will also provide you with a number of ways you can increase awareness and promote greener, more sustainable practices. 

What is Environmental Awareness?

Environmental awareness means understanding that for the earth to thrive and survive, it needs to be protected. For that to happen, we must all have an awareness of the natural world and the impact of our choices and behaviours. Our actions can either be positive and support environmental well-being, or be detrimental and cause it further harm. The act of making lifestyle changes to reduce any negative impact on the natural world is to be ‘environmentally friendly’.

Human activity affects the environment in many ways, such as pollution to land, air and water, the overuse of natural resources to an unsustainable level and our energy consumption and waste production. The consequences not only impact the earth’s ecosystems, wildlife and climate, but also the health and well-being of all human life. 

Environmental issues are numerous, and you may choose to focus on particular areas of concern over others. However, having general environmental awareness and an understanding of good practice can lead to a wide range of benefits. How you approach the task of raising awareness may depend on the circumstances of your business.

Environmental Awareness Examples

Environmental awareness can present itself in numerous ways, there is no right or wrong approach. Examples include:

  • Taking a hands-on approach, such as volunteering projects that support the environment.
  • Making physical adaptations within the office and/or workplace, such as recycling bins or energy saving practices.
  • Consciously working to educate and support staff to adopt a more environmentally friendly mindset.

Raising awareness in the workplace and taking practical action to protect and support the environment can take time, as can seeing the benefits of your choices. Ensure you set both short and long-term goals and that the practices you put in place are both sustainable and measurable.  

It is often the case that a recycling bin, for example, will crop up in the work’s kitchen, with little mention of it from then on. Environmental awareness in the workplace isn’t simply about ticking boxes to look like a conscious employer, it is about understanding the why and the how.

Create measurable goals and keep questioning the effectiveness of your practices. How often does that recycling bin get full? Could it be more frequent? Are the correct items being recycled? If not, why not? 

Why is Environmental Awareness Important in the Workplace?

Environmental awareness is important in the workplace because the health of the planet is important to us all. We all benefit from the resources we get from the earth – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil that grows our food, and the plants and animals we live amongst. 

As an employer, the well-being and quality of life of all employees should be paramount. Many people are unsure how they can help the environment, making the workplace a vital source of education and support. The more people know, the better they will be able to make ‘green’ choices and understand the negative consequences of poor ones. 

Most of us spend the majority of our time at work, and so it stands to reason that our individual actions and that of the organisation we work for, should aim to protect the environment as much as possible. Environmental awareness in the workplace is important for encouraging a strength of leadership that not only represents the business’s social conscience and values, but also one that promotes engagement and an increased sense of purpose. 

There are ethical, legal and financial factors that encourage businesses to become more aware of their environmental impact and take steps to reduce it, such reasons may include: 

Improved Image

It’s becoming an increasingly important factor for consumers, investors and employees, to support a business who takes their environmental impact seriously. Those who invest in sustainable practices often gain an improved reputation, foster greater loyalty and trust and are more likely to avoid any negative publicity associated with harmful processes. 

Reduced Costs

Taking an environmentally friendly approach to business can save money in numerous ways, such as reduced energy and waste costs. Turning the heating down by just 1 °C, for example, can reduce your energy usage enough for you to save up to 10% on your energy bills. You may also be eligible for certain grants, loans or rewards for going green. 

Increased Staff Morale and Well-being

The physical changes to a workspace, such as added greenery, LED lighting and improved ventilation systems and initiatives, like a cycle to work scheme, can all help to improve the physical health and wellbeing of staff. Investing in staff is one way to boost morale, but working for a business with sustainable values can also encourage employee loyalty. 

Legal Compliance

The laws and regulations that dictate which green practices should be in place and which harmful ones should be avoided will continue to evolve as The Government continues to tackle the climate crisis. Being an environmentally aware business with sustainable processes as of now, will make remaining compliant a less costly and time consuming process further down the line. 

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) 

As a business, making a profit is obviously important, however, CSR is essential for those wanting to operate in line with good practice. This means working in an ethical and sustainable way, and one that carefully considers its environmental and social impact. Read our article on the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility for your business for more information.

expert icon

Want to Learn More?

Take a look at our Environmental Awareness Training Course, to help you to understand how to work in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way. Or, our Corporate Social Responsibility Training Course is ideal for those wanting to learn why taking care of people, the environment and the economy are vital for the long-term growth of their business.

Ways to Promote Environmental Awareness at Work

Raising awareness not only comes from education and training, but through actions, visibility and results. As a business, you should strive to encourage engagement with all green practices, ensure accountability and set measurable targets and goals. People will be more likely to get involved and adopt an environmentally focussed mindset, if they understand the benefits of their actions.

Whether at home or work, a universal aim should be to reduce energy consumption and waste, save water and avoid pollution, consequently reducing our carbon footprint. Let’s take a look at 10 useful ways you could help to promote environmental awareness at work.

Provide Training 

Ensure all staff receive training, as they need to be made fully aware of why certain changes are being made and their impact. All staff should be trained in the company’s environmental policies and procedures and what they mean in practice. Providing an external trainer who specialises in environmental awareness training in the workplace can help to maximise engagement. 

Get Involved

Getting the staff and company involved in community projects and/or environmental charities (such as tree planting projects), can help to raise your public profile, give back to the community and help encourage staff to get behind the company’s environmental aims. Certain projects can also help to offset some of your business’s carbon emissions.

Gain Accreditation or Certification

Going through this process can be a useful tool to help you evaluate all areas of your business, highlighting what steps need to be taken to ensure the appropriate standards are met. Once accredited or certified, it provides additional reassurance to customers and all those who touch the business, that you take your social and environmental impact seriously. 

For companies that have in place an environmental management system (EMS) – a system that assesses your business and helps to identify and manage environmental impact, these systems can also be certified to provide evidence of your environmental commitment.

Create an Environmental Policy and Guidance

An environmental policy should state your organisation’s commitment to reducing its impact on the environment, outlining key objectives that the company is following, any targets in place, how these will be achieved and who is accountable for them.

Guidance is incredibly important for all staff to understand the role they can play in reducing environmental impact and what is expected of them. With hybrid working increasing throughout the UK, providing guidance on green practices that can be adopted whilst home working, as well as within the workplace, can be very beneficial. 

Consider Environmental Champions

Having workplace ‘champions’ is a great way to ensure there is a knowledgeable point of contact within the business. They can be an existing member of staff who takes on additional responsibility or it could be a person employed specifically for the role. A dedicated champion can help raise awareness, encourage compliance and coordinate training. 

Carefully Consider Your Suppliers

It is worth doing research on your suppliers to ensure they too are committed to sustainable processes. Look at their corporate policies, do they have any environmental accreditation or certification in place? Are the materials used environmentally friendly? Are they ethically sourced? What is the impact of the supply chain and transportation? It is important to look at the impact of your business as a whole, including external suppliers. 

Reduce Waste

Many people will have heard of the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ saying, which applies to many areas of sustainability, particularly when it comes to managing our waste and energy.  Reducing waste could involve going paperless, ordering in bulk to reduce wasted packaging, effective stock management to avoid over ordering produce or perishables. 

Reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill can also come from adopting good recycling practices and using reusable items in place of single-use is another effective way to reduce waste, common examples are reusable cups, bottles, cutlery and straws. As an organisation, you could help to raise awareness of the importance of waste reduction by providing staff with some of these items, you could even include your branding. 

Save Energy

There are many ways to save energy, such as using energy-efficient lighting like LED bulbs, and conserving water by fixing leaks or adding a water saving device to toilet cisterns. Often, in a communal office it can be hard to know who is responsible for the heating setting or turning off the lights and appliances. Displaying checklists can be a useful way to make sure nothing is left on to waste energy needlessly. 

Communicate your Values

Not everyone may be aware of your company’s values and commitment to the environment. Therefore, it is important to communicate this to staff, customers and the community at large, as this will increase awareness of the important role businesses play in reducing environmental impact. You can achieve this via your website, your marketing campaigns and internal communications.


Incentives can be a fun way to increase engagement and show, as a business, that you care. Many companies offer a cycle to work scheme, or other travel incentives that reduce the need for individual staff to travel by car to work, such as a reduced rate for using public transport or car shares. As a business, you can tailor incentives to work for you and get creative, ask staff what they would like and involve them in the process. 

Raising environmental awareness in the workplace is the responsibility of all employers. It brings benefits to the organisation, the workforce and the community as a whole. It is important to not only raise awareness, but to actively promote good practice to ensure the continued well-being of our planet and all those living on it. 

Further Resources: