Living Planet @ Work Champion of the month: Alan Forbes

I am ever inspired by the many green champions stepping up to spearhead sustainability at work.   As I get to know them better through Living Planet @ Work, the more I appreciate and am fascinated by the significant role they play.  Each and every one I’ve met is so capable, driven and passionate, yet their experiences are so diverse.

OLG’s Alan Forbes, (C) WWF-Canada

I recently chatted with OLG’s Alan Forbes to get an insider’s advice on how to succeed as a green champion.   Some of his team’s achievements include:

  • Organizing Casino Thunder Bay’s first annual e-waste collection drive bringing out over 600 individuals and collecting 62,000 lbs of e-waste in 2010
  • Switching to filtered tap water in 2011 and eliminating the use of 62,000 plastic bottles a year
  • Reducing the site’s paper consumption by 23% in 2011 compared to 2008 levels

And the list could go on and on.   How does Alan do it all on top of his full-time day job?
Here are some of his green champion pearls of wisdom:

  • Ask questions and get creative: “When we found out that we couldn’t recycle beer caps we were frustrated at first. But then we asked, what else can we do with it?  We called the local scrap metal dealer and they were more than happy to take the 42,000 beer caps that are discarded annually.”
  • Engage senior management: “Seeing the GM and other managers participate inspires our front-line employees to also take part.”
  • Network and partner in the community: “Getting out there and discovering what else is going on can help you can get more information, ideas and resources.”   Today, Alan is actively involved with local organizations like EcoSuperior, and this year he is the chair of Thunder Bay’s Zero Waste Action Team.
  • Always keep a positive attitude: “There will always be challenges, but instead of being bogged down, we get even more inspired!”

Alan went on to sum up his simple and effective approach:
“In everything I do, I look at whether there is a financial hit and I look for the benefits.  Most things I do don’t have any major costs; it’s almost always savings.  And the things I do in the community, it’s great for our brand.  Our work has been featured in various local publications and I’ve recently conducted four media interviews.  You just can’t buy that kind of positive recognition.”
Are you a workplace green champion? Have you found your green team’s sweet spot or are you still working through some bumps?  We would love to hear from you!  Check out Living Planet @ Work to learn more and connect with other champions like Alan!