Incorporating sustainability or green initiatives into the workplace can be a challenge for some organisations, writes Karl van Eck, regional GM for Africa of Johnson Controls, global energy solutions division.

Challenges range from lack of support, not knowing what to do, or simply resistance to change. Organisational leadership needs to create a culture of sustainability within the organisation.
They need to demonstrate the organisation's commitment to sustainability, beginning with a long-term sustainability plan, and their dedication to improving their environmental impact.
In turn, employees need to understand how they play an intricate and integral role in this. They need to understand the impact of what they do, and how it translates to this commitment. In order to successfully execute green initiatives within the workplace, organisations should start with small, relatively easy things employees can incorporate into their work day.
These initiatives should be easy to implement and measure. Some tips on how to do this include:
*Post a bulletin board or suggestion box for sharing green practices. Communication is essential for sharing the best environmental practices, and recognising personal or team successes. Make sure there's an easy way to co-ordinate these at the workplace. Encourage employees to get involved and to make a difference. The more involved they are, the more likely they are to participate.
*Ask employees to bring a mug or reusable cup to work, instead of using paper cups for hot and cold beverages. It's simple for employees to bring their own mug to work – it's a personal statement about their commitment to sustainability. Their actions can encourage others to do the same.
*Reduce the number of emails or documents employees print, and encourage them to re-use paper whenever possible. Each person in an office uses an average of 0.68kg of paper per day, so encourage employees to get in the habit of reading documents on their computer screen, and then saving them for future reference.
*Share trade publications between co-workers or departments. There is little benefit to having multiple employees receiving the same publication. The organisation will save money on subscriptions and reduce the impact of printing on the environment. Be sure to recycle all the publications received.
*Set up printers so they default to double-sided printing. Simply asking employees to print double-sided requires additional steps and knowledge. Printers should be set to automatically print double-sided. Paper consumption willl be reduced by half.
*Reduce power usage by buying energy efficient equipment. Almost every piece of equipment comes in an energy-efficient form, from office equipment (computers, copiers, fax machines, mailing machines,
printers and scanners) to factory lunchrooms (refrigerators, coffee pots, microwave ovens and vending machines). Include energy-efficient equipment as part of the organisation's purchasing policies.
*Plug office equipment into a power strip and turn off at the end of the day. Even in standby mode, office equipment uses energy. Organisations will be on the road to having a more involved "green team" if they develop a rotating schedule for turning off power strips at the end of the day.
Start small. Celebrate and reward the small successes, and use the momentum to implement larger initiatives throughout the workplace. A green workplace is a sustainable workplace.