To be transparent, I wanted to start the day by publishing my new article about the learning culture in multinational organizations…but this was before seeing the news this morning. It was impossible, except if being totally isolated from the news, to avoid the fact that today was the Earth Overshoot Day, which is the moment of the year where we have used more from nature than the Earth can renew in the whole year. So, for today, exit the learning culture (I will publish my article in the next days) and hello to a set of simple actions that can help to reduce our CO2 emissions and some Human related pollutions at work.

Of course there are a very large set of actions that can be taken, but here I would like to list 5 actions that we can all do, and that can be completed in the working environment. In the comments, it would be great if you could also share your best practices and I will use it to create another article that will regroup all your advices.

1- Replace plastic cup and straws

The first action that can be really useful to save tons of plastic is to reduce the consumption of all unique plastic such as plastic cups and straws. You can easily replace the cup with glass, mug or fancy re-usable cups and the straws can be replaced by paper or bamboo straws.

When you think that just in the US, 500 millions of straws are used every day and that in the world there is an estimated 8.3 billion plastic straws polluting beaches, you can imagine how useful it can be to reduce their use.

2- Turn-off the light in the meeting rooms that are empty

This may sound so basic…but once again, this is so simple and yet many time I can still see meeting rooms in buildings that looks empty and still have the light on.

With smart spaces fortunately this will be less and less an issue. But just think about it as not every offices are under the latest norms and have smart light systems with and automated switch.

Another point can be to use LED lights that are using less energy than incandescent lights and last longer.

3- Better manage the air-conditionning consumption

With the temperature going up in most countries in the next decades, the demand for air-conditionning has been identified as one of the next big threat.

The reason why ? The power supply that will be necessary to fuel these air-conditionning systems will create more CO2 emissions. Nevertheless, new solutions powered by solar panels and optimized air-conditionning systems would allow to limit the impact of the rise in the use of air-conditionning.

So what can you do ? First make sure that air-con is turned at the right level, no need to have an over fresh air…and make sure not to leave it open during the week-end for example.

4- Reduce your office printing and use recycled paper

How many of us have already printed something that was not needed…and actually had to re-print it because it was not good enough and…it finally ended in the garbage!

Another simple and efficient action to be more sustainable at the office is to reduce your office printing and to use recycled paper.

And guess what, there are even a lot of tips to reduce your paper use at the office, for example to print two-sided documents, to proof-read, to fit into a single page.

5- When buying goodies…think sustainable!

If your function require you to buy goodies, and it can happen, think twice and look for sustainable goodies.

There are many sellers that have innovative and even cheaper goodies done with recycled materials.

A tote bag done in recycled fibers, a book done with recycled paper, a pen done with recycled paper, a re-usable mug or cup, and the list can go on.

This is at the same time a way to promote sustainable behaviors and to make your own practices at work sustainable.

And some of the money you spend can also go to associations if your buyer allow that, so in the end it can be very positive.


It is obvious that with simple and consistent actions we can all help in making our world a better place, and we have to!

This list of actions is just a summary of very simple and yet very true actions that we can all take, and if we do, the impact would already be important.

I wish that one day we can look at this list and think that it was the past, but let’s be honest, we will have to be careful with our consumption for some time…so let’s do that all together.

Feel free to share your best practices in the comments below and I will regroup them in a next article to create OUR list of sustainable best practices!