altOfficeworkers everywhere now have the opportunity to add their contribution to eco-friendly workplaces. The week of 19 to 23 April is to be Green Office Week in South Africa, and is intended both to raise awareness of the importance of eco-friendly offices as well as inform office workers that they too can make a positive impact on the environment whilst at work.

An initiative by Dictum Publishers, the aim is to encourage employees throughout South Africa, in big and small organisations, whether in the public or private sector, to take a look at their daily routines and realize the economic benefits of reducing energy and resource requirements.

A green office is a smarter and better office. On the one hand it is Ecological: using nontoxic, recycled, environmentally friendly products and supplies; on the other hand it is Efficient: using as little energy and other resources as possible, and putting out the smallest amount of waste as possible; and ultimately, it is Healthy, with as little visual, noise and physical pollution as possible.

Says Ana-Maria Valente, a director of Dictum: “ A green office is everyone’s business, and small steps can lead to great benefits. Whether turning off lights in unused spaces – or replacing fluorescent lights with energy efficient lighting – and where appropriate using both sides of paper when printing or providing recycle bins throughout the workplace to recycle paper is a good start.

“ On our website www.greenofficeweek.co.za we have posted as much information as possible in terms of “why, what and how!”. It’s critical to provide ideas and tools with which to start or review your organisation’s environment policies. We have provided a sample Green Office Action Plan to ensure that people have a place from where to start”.

For the Week Monday 19 April to Friday 23 April, you can start by dedicating each day to think about one area of focus or one area of change:

Tips of the day for Green Office Week
Monday 19 April MAKE-IT-HAPPEN MONDAYStart by saving paper!
Make notepads from scrap photocopying and printing paper.
Tip of the day
Tuesday 20 April CHOOSY TUESDAYChoose eco-friendly suppliers

  • Buyoffice products  that are
  • Reusable, (eg packaging)
  • Refillable,  (eg pens and pencils)
  • and Non-toxic(eg cleaning products)
Tip of the day
Wednesday 21 April WATTAGE WEDNESDAYBe energy conscious!

  • Invest in am energy-saving computer, monitor and printer
  • Switch to energy-saving settings
  • Power-off your computer whenever you’re not using it
  • Set it to sleep modewhen you are away for short periods of time
Tip of the day
Thursday 22 April THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYThoughtful meetings

  • Circulate Agendas and Minutes by email
  • Instead of A3 flipcharts, Use Whiteboards  or computer-derived presentations

In 2010 it’s Earth Day’s 40th anniversary Happy 40th Earth Day!

Tip of the day And remember… 22 April, EVER YEAR is Earth Day, celebrated worldwide
Friday 23 April FRIENDLY FRIDAYBe a waste-buster!
Donate unwanted or reusable supplies to schools or charitable  organizations;
Tip of the day

Information on how to save energy in the office environment can be found by going onto the Eskom website www.eskom.co.za/dsm.  Eskom’s Energy Efficiency Demand Side Management (EEDSM) department plays an important role in promoting energy efficiency by advising customers how to save energy by way of informative advertorials, partnerships with relevant industry bodies, and by providing an advisory service.  Financial support and incentives are also part of EEDSM’s offering.

 More technical information on energy efficiency opportunities for commercial properties can be attained by contacting the Eskom  Contact Centre on 08600 ESKOM (08600 37566) and logging a query for an energy advisor to contact you.

Some people have asked if this whole initiative is all about a week! The answer is yes and no: It is about a week, in the sense that once a year, we take some time to look and focus at our office behaviours and change in accordance with the times we live in and its demands; but it is no different to special days in the year eg Mother’s Day: hopefully one doesn’t just show love and care to our Mother on that day alone! However, it does remind one of how important a mother is our life. Similarly, mother earth can do with some attention from us and that is why there is a Green Office Week.

By Following Twitter GOW_SA you can get daily information feeds. More information on: www.greenofficeweek.co.za;  011 616 7401

Small Business Forum

The Small Business Forum is an independent network of entrpreneurs and small business owners established to encourage and support the creation, growth and development of small business in South Africa.

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