Why no green teams?

For the last few weeks I have been doing a very informal survey to prove a point.  I’ve asked 12 managers/chefs if their restaurant has a green team.  And the answer is…….you guessed it, zero!

Now the researcher in me wants to ask the question ‘why is this the case’ but for the sake of this blog post I’m going to focus more on why we should start creating these teams in our restaurants.

So first off what is a green team?

“Green Teams are self-organized, grassroots and cross-functional groups of employees who voluntarily come together to identify and implement specific solutions to help their organization operate in a more environmentally sustainable fashion. A green team is sometimes started by an active employee, sometimes mandated from above, or sometimes a combination of the two. Its purpose is generally to advance concepts of sustainability in to a company’s operations through grassroots effort, policy changes, or even larger scale transformation of production and operations.”

(Triple Pundit)

So what can green teams achieve?

First and foremost green teams can reduce costs.  Water, electricity, waste disposal, these are all increasingly expensive operating costs in restaurants.  Green team audits of these areas can lead to savings for both the bottom line and the environment.   Waste audits (including food) can also lead to employees finding solutions in production that saves food and money.

Improve engagement and promote collaboration.  We all understand the benefits of engagement and the formation of green teams can lead to employees who have personal values in regards to the environment feeling more committed to the workplace.  Green teams are also an excellent example of how both sides of the house can work together to solve problems.  Any time we can get employees from different areas working together is a big win.

Part of an overall Corporate Social Responsibility (C.S.R.) strategy.  In recent years many restaurants and restaurant companies have made a conscious effort to create a C.S.R. strategy. Green teams can play a huge role in the environmental side of these strategies that benefit various community stakeholders.

Here is a link to an article that provides an example of a restaurant that started a green team.  It also gives some tips on how to get one started in your restaurant.


UGSRP would also like to make any restaurant an offer of assistance: Let us help you form a green team.  Yes we’ll help you form and support the ongoing efforts of any green team you start.  We’re also hoping that some restaurants will help us research the effects of green team creation.  It’s all part of our commitment to helping the restaurant community become more sustainable.

For more information contact Professor Bruce McAdams at bmcadams@uoguelph.ca



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