Sustainability in the workplace: WWF tips

Discover tips from WWF on how to improve sustainability in the workplace.

Sustainability in the workplace isn't just a trendy buzzword, it's a fundamental commitment to reducing our ecological footprint and preserving our planet for future generations.   

As part of Vodafone’s partnership with WWF, we’re discussing how you can create a more sustainable office, for example by reducing single-use plastic and other single-use items, optimising printer and paper consumption, implementing effective recycling practices, and more.

Tips on creating a sustainable office

Before we answer the question: “How can I make my office more sustainable?” let's look deeper at the why.   

The World Economic Forum has estimated that half of the world’s GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature. Yet we’re destroying our precious habitats to accommodate unsustainable industry and agriculture – fuelling the climate emergency and nature loss. WWF’s 2022 Living Planet Report shows that globally, monitored wildlife populations have dropped by 69% on average, in less than a lifetime.   

Such overwhelming information might make us think that it’s too late. But the good news is there is still time to reverse the trend, if we act fast and at scale. And the more people and businesses make changes, the bigger the collective impact will be.    

Businesses of all sizes can start to move in the right direction by following these handy tips.   

1. Reduce single use plastic 

Annually, 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped in our seas, with severe consequences for marine (and land-based) ecosystems. To reduce plastic going to landfill and polluting our oceans, you could:  

Use reusable containers 

Encourage employees to bring their own reusable water bottles, coffee cups, and lunch containers.  

Eliminate single-use plastics 

Phase out single-use plastic items like cutlery, straws, and bags from the office kitchen, restaurant or café.   

Implement plastic recycling 

Install recycling bins for plastic waste, especially where people eat, drink or meet. And it’s not just plastic that’s an issue. All single use items have environmental impacts, so wherever you can, look for reusable options instead of single use. 


2. Optimise printer and paper use  

The pulp and paper industry is responsible for around 13%-15% of all wood consumption. Ensure it’s clear how to recycle paper and optimise your printers to help ease the pressure on the world’s forests by following the guidance below:    

Print only when necessary 

Encourage employees to think twice before hitting print. Wherever possible, share information digitally.   

Double-sided printing 

Set your printers to double-sided printing by default to help save paper.    

Recycle paper 

Make sure paper recycling bins are close to printers and general waste and are clearly marked. And always choose recycled paper for your office supplies.  

3. Recycling food waste 

From farm to fork, an estimated 40% of all food grown goes uneaten, often ending up in landfill along with excessive and single-use packaging.   


Set up clearly marked composting bins for organic food waste in cafés, restaurants and kitchens.  

Encourage sustainable food choices 

Ensure food is sourced responsibly and sustainably, and provide plenty of plant-based alternatives. Meat and dairy require huge amounts of space, water and feed, and generate almost 15% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions.   

Reduce food packaging 

Minimise the use of plastic and disposable food packaging, and opt for reusable or recyclable alternatives.  

Encourage use of leftovers 

Provide easy access to reusable or recyclable food containers, so people can take leftovers home.   

4. Raise awareness 


Any sustainability initiatives need buy-in from everyone. Engage employees by highlighting Awareness Days, such World Wildlife Day and create fun and themed events that get people involved.   For a real wake-up call, consider screening the WWF’s acclaimed ‘Our Planet: Our Business’ film at away days, events or Town Hall-type meetings.

Benefits of a sustainable office environment

As well as helping to protect the environment and biodiversity, an eco-friendly office provides several business benefits.   

Potential cost savings 

Recycling and reducing paper or food waste means less spend on office supplies and waste disposal. You could go even further by implementing energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, LED lighting, and water-saving tech to bring down utility bills.   

Improved productivity 

Employees want to know they work for an organisation committed to doing the right thing within a welcoming environment. As well as adopting sustainable office management practices, you could think about adding responsibly sourced indoor plants, and increasing natural light and ventilation for a nicer workplace. When we’re happy, we’re more productive.   

Attract and retain talent and clients 

Sustainable practices are a major consideration for many of today’s job seekers, especially younger applicants. Companies with green initiatives may be preferred by clients too, potentially helping to grow your business.  

Innovation and research and development  

A focus on sustainable practices can drive innovation – especially if you empower your people to contribute – leading to new products, services, and processes.  

Tax incentives and rebates 

Many governments offer tax breaks, grants, loans and green business schemes to help offices reduce their environmental impact, integrate sustainable infrastructure and save money. Make sure you’re aware of the available support.

The impact of an eco-friendly office

As well as the immediate business benefits, an eco-friendly office has positive long-term effects.   

Reduced carbon footprint 

Less waste, reduced energy use and greener practices all help to reduce your carbon footprint, helping to ensure your business is doing its bit to help tackle the climate emergency and protecting our vital biodiversity.

Brand reputation 

Sustainable practices, happy employees and content customers can make you stand out from the competition. A combination of word-of-mouth and sharing about your green journey can give you that all-important marketplace advantage.  

Reduced risk  

Ensuring your office is eco-friendly sooner rather than later helps you reduce any environmental and social risks resulting from your business operations. As the climate crisis deepens, accelerated action is vital and getting on board now puts you in a strong position for the future.  

Creating a sustainable office environment is not just a responsibility but an opportunity to lead by example.   

By using the simple, sustainable tips here, alongside WWFs’ Let’s make our offices more sustainable guide, you’re not only ensuring long-term business continuity, you’re helping to protect the environment and biodiversity for future generations.  

To get  1-2-1 advice about your business, book an appointment with one of our V-Hub Digital ​​Advisers.  

The Vodafone WWF partnership launched a million phones for the planet programme to help accelerate and refine Vodafone's circular economy strategy by increasing the number of traded0in, refurbished and recycled devices. Read more here.

WWF works with businesses of all sizes in many different ways. If you feel inspired to see how your business can join forces with WWF, you can reach out to them at

Sustainable Business Growth For SMEs

Discover guidance on sustainable growth for SMEs with WWF and The Carbon Trust.

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