KATHMANDU: While the debate over the issue of global warming continues, companies the world over are calculating their carbon footprints and taking initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of ‘going green’. Many big-names have begun including sustainable and eco-friendly business practices, and Nepali enterprises are no exception with corporate houses taking sincere initiatives to promote environment friendly practices through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.
Prasanna KC, chairperson of Laxmi Cares, a registered NGO and social initiative of employees of Laxmi Bank, says, “Our bank has been following the concept of ‘paperless office’ since long. We also have a savings account, aptly named ‘Green Savings’, under which the bank plants a tree on behalf of the customer for
every account opened. Till date, we have planted 20,000 trees in Pokhara, Chobhar and Lumbini.” According to him, the organisation has also initiated ‘Bike Fridays’ at work and the installation of solar street lights across the city. KC adds, “We believe that we can work together to make a difference in the community while encouraging other individuals and organisations to adopt eco-friendly practices.”
Similarly, Clean Energy Development Bank (CEDB) has been set up solely to promote clean energy technology. “Most of our business ventures are designed in an environmental friendly manner. Additionally, we have conducted ‘Gifting Brightness’ programme to empower deprived segments of society with clean and renewable energy for their essential lighting needs,” says Chhokila Ukyab, assistant strategy development officer at CEDB. Along with this, CEDB has also initiated the ‘Sowing Remembrance’ programme, whereby the staffs planted and dedicated 1,000 trees and ‘Green Marathon’ through which they gifted 10,000 trees to Kathmandu dwellers. Ukyab adds, “We also conduct ‘Eco Campaign’, where we give present-
ations at various schools regarding environmental awareness and eco-conscious habits and prevailing environmental chall-enges faced by Nepal.”
While it could very well generate curiosity amongst the general public, taking this initiative is also a great way to engage employees in something worthy and boost their morale in the long run. There is a collective sense of shared purpose that is good for morale and retention of the employees. KC says, “Employees put forth their suggestions through consult-ations and meetings. The ideas get voted upon and we adopt a plan to execute the best ideas.”
Ukyab adds, “We have Clean Action for a Responsible Establishment (CARE) programme to spread awareness among the staff. Our staffs follow this by turning off lights during breaks, switching off office equipments when not in use, using the
stairs and natural light whenever possible, not printing e-mails and other documents unless essential, et cetera.”
The best way to enthuse employees is to start a ‘green team’. Enlist employees most passionate about environmental causes to lead the charge by setting up a club or committee that oversees workplace green initiatives. It is also important to educate staffs on complex topics like global warming, energy
efficiency or carbon footprints. However, companies need to be mindful that the employees do not feel environmental
consciousness is another chore. That is why companies best-known for their environmental stewardship try to make it fun, rewarding and interesting.