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How Championing Sustainability Can Help You Stay Motivated at Work

Does the current state of our global environment worry you? How much further can we progress if we don’t take immediate remedial action to help the planet heal from the harm that has already been inflicted on our environment? Gillian Hrycko, Manager of Occupant Engagement with CD Sonter Ltd. believes that “there is no further development without sustainability.”

If you agree with Gillian, you’ve probably experienced some everyday frustrations in your daily office life: misplaced garbage, unnecessary printing, inefficient energy usage and so much more. Not only does it upset you on a personal level, but studies have shown that it also impacts your productivity at work. 

So, what can you do to help? Let us introduce you to the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Living Planet @Work (LPW) Program

Living Planet @Work is WWF-Canada’s workplace engagement platform that offers free resources and ideas to help you to lead sustainable initiatives at work. Their aim is to help you activate office sustainability challenges, participate in conservation campaigns and raise critical funds for WWF-Canada’s conservation work.

We had the chance to connect with two champions of the LPW program to get their insights on why it’s so important to give back and how you can get inspired to do the same.

Gillian Hrycko spends every day working with some of the largest property managers across Canada (think: offices, shopping centres, and campuses!) and helps them embed sustainability into their spaces. “According to the United Nations, there will be more than 11.2 billion people living on Earth by the year 2100. The only choice is to do things smarter,” she comments. Gillian believes that there’s no role in any organization that doesn’t touch on sustainability in some fashion. She also knows that bringing sustainability into the workforce increases productivity, satisfaction and motivation since she’s experienced it for herself.

“I first learned about the WWF Living Planet @Work program through a colleague during a co-op term I was on. As a co-op student, I had little authority and no budget to speak of, but a whole lot of passion, and Living Planet @ Work gave me the resources to bring back to my management team to get sustainability programs rolling in my organization.”

LPW program began a life-long journey for Gillian. One of the first initiatives she implemented was staying in the office half an hour overtime every day to write thank you notes to those who turned off their monitors. She says that this helped her not only make our world just a little bit better, but it also made her stand out in her workplace and demonstrate the desire to go beyond her job description.

Perhaps Gillian’s upbringing had a lot to do with her career. “Growing up, while most of my friends would travel to Florida or various all-inclusive resorts for their summer breaks, my family would hop in our campervan and head to a new park to explore. This time in nature led me to feel a deep interconnectedness to the world around us, and a lifelong passion to protect it,” she shares. Even if you haven’t spent your summers in national parks, getting involved to help is important! “There are no barriers to joining, so go for it!”, says Gillian as she refers to the LPW toolkit. It includes templates, posters, memos, policies about energy reduction, “How to Run Engagement Campaigns”, and so much more.

For Ashley Fill, an Account Executive at P&G, implementing change hasn’t always been easy. She’s faced some challenges and barriers, but ultimately helped P&G earn the Award for Excellence in Environmental Employee Engagement from WWF. 

It all started in university where Ashley became intrigued by the impact the agriculture sector had on climate change and started doing research. Her passion led her to create on-campus sustainability initiatives and resulted in her running the Sustainability Network at P&G Canada. “I believe making small changes can make a world of difference! Influencing more sustainable practices is what motivates me both at work and in my personal life”, she says.

Ashley found out about the WWF LPW initiative at the 2016 Annual General meeting. Inspired by the WWF’s 2016 Living Planet Report, Ashley helped launch the first annual shoreline cleanup. Since then, she’s assisted with implementing big events, like the CN Tower Climb, and small changes, like bringing reusable cups to the office.

“Nothing feels more rewarding to me than seeing the impact my team’s environmental initiatives have had on our office. At least once a week, a fellow employee will come up to me and show me that they’re using a reusable coffee cup/cutlery/container etc instead of a one-time use option. Though it may seem small, seeing that I can make a change in the habits of those around me is beyond inspiring”

Ashley reminds us that sustainability is usually a win-win for everyone. It helps protect the planet and also saves money! Ashley recommends talking about these benefits beyond the scope of environmentalism, asking for senior leadership support and just going for it.

If you’ve ever felt uninspired due to the lack of sustainability in your workplace, it’s time to lead the change. WWF’s Living Planet @Work provides free resources for anyone who wants to spread the message and lead by example. When you take advantage of them, you’ll not only make your life better, you’ll also improve your community and leave an important positive mark everywhere you go. Find out how easy it is to make a change – explore the WWF Living Planet @Work here

Originally published on TalentEgg.

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Maria Vasserman

Maria Vasserman

is a Marketing Coordinator at TalentEgg and a lifestyle photographer. She graduated from Seneca College and is currently working towards her BComm at Ryerson University. Maria loves sharing her never-ending thoughts with the world through writing, photography, and even dance!

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