Lots of us are finding this. We have registered at My Green Doctor, maybe took The Pledge to “go green”, but the office Green Team isn’t going anywhere. So here is what you can do, whether you are the boss or someone else in your office:
1. Think for a few minutes about Environmental Sustainability. Is this something that your office wants to embrace? What is meant by sustainability? Is this something that could be valuable to your medical office? Do you think that your medical office would like Environmental Sustainability to be part of your mission?
An environmentally sustainable organization is one that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment & Development, 1987). This is a BIG goal, something that no organization ever actually achieves, but is a goal that can be part of what we strive for and a value that we share with our co-workers, patients and families. As part of your office’s mission, environmental sustainability is a goal similar to your medical office’s goal of supporting “healthy” and is a contributor to “healthy”.
Environmental sustainability is coherent with the urgent needs of healthcare today, wherever you are located in the world. Efforts that you make towards sustainability encourage:
- Employee participation & team building
- Self-examination and process improvement
- Lowering business operating costs
- Supporting the values of employees who want to “make a difference for others
- Creating a healthier work environment
- Healthy patients & community
- Brand enhancement
2. Secure a sustainability commitment by the management of your medical office, company or larger institution. Make environmental sustainability one of the organization’s core values or part of your mission statement. Create a sustainability structure including Green Teams. Define targets and required reporting to the organization’s management.
3. Find a leader or assign a leader. If you are the office manager or lead doctor, become the Green Team leader yourself, assign someone to be the leader, or find a volunteer. You might create a position of “Sustainability Officer”, paid or volunteer. Having a Sustainability Officer sounds good for your office because it IS good for your office!
5. Talk to 3 people in your office today– share with them your wish to move forward and ask them to commit to being part of the Green Team. Ask them to register at www.mygreendoctor.org also.
6. Plan to meet regularly over lunch on a fixed day, perhaps the first Thursday of every month.
7. Look at My Green Doctor’s “Quick Start, Now!” that tells you how to move forward and keeps it simple.
Now I am going to tell you something that I probably shouldn’t reveal. Here it is: becoming a Green Doctor Office is not all that easy. You need to meet regularly, keep going, make gradual improvements, qualify for Green Doctor Office Recognition, and then don’t stop! But all offices tell us that it is well worth it because your office will save money, be a healthier office, and make a difference for your community.
So get started, or restarted, by talking about your Green Team today.