Goodwill Industries is spreading its goal to make the world a greener place with the Green Advisory Team. This is a committee within Goodwill Industries which advocates for sustainable practices in the business workplace, and consequently, in workers’ homes. I spoke to the co-chair of the Green Advisory Team, Andrea von Wahl, to learn more about their practices.
The main goal of the team is to implement environmentally friendly actions in the workplace. This includes using energy efficient lightbulbs, maintaining low heat in the winter, composting, and recycling. Andrea explains that “in the process of teaching people how to have a greener business, they learn how to be more responsible, and it influences their home behaviour.”
The team only consists of a few members spread across London, Tillsonburg, Woodstock, Guelph, Kitchener, and other parts of the GTA. As co-chair, Andrea’s role is to coordinate a feasible plan for businesses to implement in their daily schedules. She explains that by having an empathetic insight into people’s lives, people become more empowered to change their habits – “You need to seek input and make sure people feel engaged in the process.”
One of the Green Advisory Team’s greatest successes is composting. It is normally hard to get employers to install composting programs at their practices, but London has several options to get this done. Where Goodwill owns small properties, they have aerobic digesters in which workers can place their compostable waste. At the Horton location, compost is being picked up by a company that transports the compost to Orgaworld, and with the amount of kitchen scraps that accumulate, this makes a big difference. The team also aims to inform businesses across London that this composting program exists, so they also consider using it in their own practices.
The Green Advisory Team also wants to influence the general community by collaborating on projects such as Clean and Green, and the community garden at the Tillsonburg Goodwill store. Andrea is very proud of the community garden which her other co-chair, Leila Nattagh, helped plan. Andrea hopes that people will be motivated to grow their own food – “You may be less likely to waste food if you know what it takes growing it, and you have more respect about what goes on the table.”
If you’re interested in helping the Green Advisory Team at Goodwill, there may be a place for you. Andrea explains that it is hard to find capacity to get some work done – they especially need volunteers to strengthen the green ambassador program. The green ambassador program will eventually be implemented in every Goodwill location, and the people in charge will fill in staff on a weekly basis about a simple green tip. For instance, this can be reminding workers about using refillable water bottles or reusing products instead of throwing them out.
Andrea recently joined the LEN Steering Committee. She wants to listen to other peoples’ ideas and learn about the best practices. Andrea also wants to bring her passion for the environment and experience as co-chair to the other members of the steering committee.
Making green decisions in the workplace will ultimately lead to a happier community and happier planet. Starting off small, like reducing, reusing, and recycling, can lead to more impactful habits like composting food waste. Take care to make these decisions in your own workplace!
Want to know more about the Green Advisory team or get in contact with them?
Article by: Ksenia Kolodka – Communications Volunteer
London Environmental Network Volunteer