Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22 to commemorate support for environmental protection. The tradition began in 1970, and today Earth Day celebrations are held in a whopping 193 countries. Local green businesses observe the day by participating in community events and taking advantage of the annual opportunity to communicate their environmental and community values to employees, customers and the public.
Last year, the Clark County Green Business Program celebrated Earth Day by welcoming five new businesses into the sustainability program. Since launching the program in 2012, more than 100 businesses have joined. To earn Green Business certification, businesses must demonstrate they meet environmental requirements and also have employee and community engagement initiatives in place. One of the requirements for certification is the formation of a green team.
A green team is the core group of individuals within an organization that is responsible for developing and implementing projects and policies that create positive environmental change. They also lead the charge for communicating to their fellow employees about sustainability projects. Green teams are the driving force behind Earth Day activities and messages, too.
Celebrations acknowledging Earth Day will look very different this year compared with previous iterations. Typically, businesses have organized educational opportunities for employees such as events focused on green living or environmental fairs. Others have a made a positive impact in the community through volunteer service projects. While gathering employees together won’t be an option this year, sharing stories about successes in pollution prevention, resource conservation, and employee engagement can and should continue.
For example, a certified Green Business located in Camas developed a creative alternative to their annual Earth Week Celebration. Rather than offering a physical space for employees to browse informational displays in person, this year the event will be hosted on an online platform. Employees will still have the opportunity to learn about green living and local sustainability resources as they have in past years.
Don’t let COVID-19 cancel Earth Day
Sharing positive stories and educational messages with your employees, customers and your community is more important than ever. Here are some ideas to build and share your story on Earth Day this year:
- Consider public-facing messages that are relevant in the short-term and are consistent with your values in the long-term.
- Take stock in the ways that your environmental commitment and efficiency practices increase the ability of employees to stay safe.
- Acknowledge local business and nonprofit partnerships. Partnering with and supporting other local businesses and nonprofit organizations can be part of your green business story.
- Share your Earth Day message using an online platform. Offer customers a glimpse into your operations through social media or with new content on your website.
Even during the pandemic, there are opportunities to share your story and let people know about the core values behind your company. You will attract public support for your business and give your employees pride in their work and their employer.
Sarah Keirns leads the Green Business Program at Clark County Public Health and provides resources to support green practices at workplaces throughout Clark County. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 564-397-7319.