Leadership and Culture
March 8, 2021

How to build a sustainable workplace culture

Written By:
Sarah Goble

From challenge comes change.

Today, marks International Women’s Day where we collectively choose to challenge gender biases that limit our progress towards an inclusive world. To celebrate, we are highlighting our Site Operations Manager and Chair of our Sustainability Committee, Sarah Goble, who chooses to challenge both gender biases and sustainable practices by championing workplace habits that build an even stronger sustainable workplace culture.

Meet Sarah Goble, Site Operations Manager

Sarah Goble, Site Operations Manager, auditing recycling bins at Terramera research labs located in Vancouver.

I have always felt a deep connection to the environment. As an artist, I replicated the natural world on canvas, though I could not help but be drawn back to the realest of realism—our earth and the understated importance of its health.

As a culture, we have a habit of looking away from the reality of the mainstream food industry and how we impact the environment, which denies ourselves of the realism in our natural world. We are living in a way that is not sustainable and our consumption habits have put us on a path of depleting resources, creating irreversible damage and even species extinction.

Sustainability in the workplace

Just five years ago, plastic-lined coffee cups filled workplace bins, printers worked unnecessary overtime and bike racks were only found at bike shops. With the shift from only 20 per cent of S&P 500 Hundred companies publishing sustainability reports to 90 per cent over the past decade—it is clear our workplaces are changing for the better—and much of this change is driven by employees.

Employees no longer check their values at the door. Instead, a sense of purpose is a necessity with nearly half of Fortune 1000 employees considering purpose as very important in the workplace according to a recent study.

At Terramera, our mission is centred around our core question: How can we use technology to unlock the intelligence in nature to ensure an earth that thrives and provides for everyone? We use this question to drive our work to transform how food is grown and inform our collective workplace behaviours.

I am bringing sustainability to the forefront of our work environment to set an even higher standard that empowers our team to embrace positive change and create meaningful impact.

Building sustainable habits

Building sustainable workplace habits takes time. But with strong initiatives and ongoing practice, you will find that your efforts build a culture that translates into your team’s everyday life.

We have established a range of initiatives that are backed by educational insights that detail more than just what we do, but why we do it. The result? An engaged team who are continually developing positive habits that inform their behaviours from our research labs, robotics workshops and offices, to their homes.

Here are five ways to build a sustainable workplace culture.

Choose to challenge the status quo

The easy thing is to look away, the hard thing is to engage, push boundaries and get people thinking about existing systems and what needs to change.

Choose to challenge means choosing not accept things as they are. Take a deep dive into existing sustainability programs and brainstorm how to elevate them.

Benchmark and measure your impact

Many companies spend more money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than on actually making a positive environmental impact.

Measuring your impact provides concrete evidence that your programs and initiatives are effective. To do this, you need to know where you started, where you are going and how you are doing along the way.

Launch a recycling program

Recycling programs can help improve your diversion rates, which equals less waste being unnecessarily dumped in landfills. At Terramera, recycling has become second nature. We have decreased our waste production by 50 per cent since October, 2020 by launching a custom recycling infrastructure program that caters to unique waste items such as latex gloves, metal, wood, electronics, printer cartridges, Styrofoam and more.

I spent months auditing our existing waste streams, consulting with teams and observing systems to ensure we had the hard numbers to benchmark the extent of our impact.

Promote a sustainable commute

While COVID has made the majority of our workforce remote, we continue to promote any essential travel by earth-friendly means of bike and provide safe bike storage facilities to encourage this.

Make your team a part of the green conversation

Involve your team in the conversation by giving them a platform to share information as well as resources. At Terramera, we provide our team with weekly sustainability tips and useful resources and a platform for sharing information.

In today’s ever-evolving world, it is no longer enough for companies to project a sustainable image to the world—it should be engrained in the habits of your team and culture.

By integrating thoughtful, green initiatives into your workplace and allowing your team members to practice environment-positive behaviours, together we can create the future we are proud to pass onto the next generation.

Thank you to all the Terramera women who choose to challenge the status quo every day #IWD2021

Shannon Nauss Liebreich    

Katie Power    

Deborah Shatley    

Heather Hildebrandt    

Sarah Roberts    

Meagan Schulz    

Karina Muenala    

Melody Taylor    

Sarah Goble    

Cherishma Sadasivuni    

Jinna Chang    

Jessica Dimitrakopoulou    

Selina Li    

Inha Park    

Praveena Gokul    

Selvi Raja    

Lynel Barrow    

Andrea Charlton    

Sydney Jung    

Cyndi Callow    

Ameera Ahmad    

Hoda Aghaei    

Forum Bhanshali    

Katherine Buchanan    

Renée Christie    

Monika Ditschun    

Shuyu Fan    

Naghmeh Garmsiri    

Andrea Ho    

Cherri Lau    

Meng Li    

Michelle Macdonald    

Alex Ogaard-Stephens    

Richel Poon    

Marina Radojevic    

Maryamsadat Rasoulidanesh    

Annett Rozek    

Melody Sizer    

Kelly Wang    

Floria Chu    

Tiffany Wu    

Natalie Glavas    

Michelle Islas

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Terramera is headquartered in Vancouver, BC which is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. We thank their people who have been custodians of this land for thousands of years.
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