This year’s GSN Congress focus on ‘Conscious Collaboration’ will take a deep dive into how we develop, implement, and achieve our sustainability initiatives. Several GSN members share their experience with employee and client sustainable efforts, the challenges they had to overcome and the skill sets they believe are important for your ‘green team’ to succeed.
Last year, employees at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain built an on-site employee garden to promote healthy food choices, called the Mountains of Wellness Garden. The boxes were built using recycled Colorado pine beetle kill wood and this summer they are growing lettuces, kales, chard, tomatoes, radish, arugula, basil and other herbs. The garden is built, planted and managed entirely by employees. The resort has designated bi-weekly Employee Volunteer Days and weekly Harvest Days where employees can come pick fresh produce and herbs to take home. They also share healthy recipes with employees that feature the fresh produce.
Along similar lines, Skin Authority supports sustainable food practices by sponsoring the unique Garden Project at the New Children’s Museumin San Diego. The garden supplies low-income schools with the ingredients necessary to offer students nutritious lunches. “As a company, the Skin Authority team is committed to sustainability in our products and treatments, as well as throughout our San Diego community,” says Celeste Hilling, CEO and Co-founder of Skin Authority. The company also uses minimal packaging and no-towel treatments to minimize their products impact on the earth.
Challenges to Achieving Results
Saltability Founder, Ann Brown, says “awareness, helping clients understand the value of the warmers and how easy it is to switch to the more energy-efficient Saltability warmers,” is one of the greatest challenges they face.
Hilling agrees, saying “our industry perceives that unless you use thick towels, fluffy rubes, etc., you can’t give a great treatment.” Since they use minimal packaging, Skin Authority also struggles with getting their suppliers on board and constantly pushes them to be more sustainable in their practices.
The Westin Riverfront also deals with awareness (and a short growing season), but the resort believes that by having the garden available, it will help employees realize the many benefits of seeking out locally grown foods and taking responsibility for their own health.
Skill Sets for Sustainability
To increase the impact of your sustainable efforts, Brown says that having an innovative spirit and being open to change are important skill sets for your ‘green team’ to have.
Hilling adds that you also need good communicators and a connection to the environment. “Whether it’s to vendors or to the people you are servicing, your team needs to communicate your mission of sustainability. For example, green packaging is not always the most beautiful. You have to be prepared to communicate that message if a customer comments on your packaging,” says Hilling. While also having a connection to the environment allows your team to be authentic in supporting your initiatives.
Are there additional skill sets you believe are imperative for your green team to succeed? Have you engaged your employees or clients in sustainable task forces to achieve change? Please share them with us here.