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Survey: many offices have “green” programs, but not doctors

A 2010 survey reveals that most US companies now have some program in place to assess and improve their environmental practices. The survey found that three out of five employers (60 percent) are measuring their cost savings from environmental programs, up from 39 percent the year before, according to a Buck Consultants, a subsidiary of Xerox.

“The Greening of the American Workplace 2010” found that savings are widespread at American companies, with 78 percent of respondents reporting electricity cost savings, two-thirds indicating heating/cooling and paper savings, and 60 percent cutting costs on water.

Overall, 69 percent of respondents have green programs in place, up from 53 percent last year. Nearly six in ten respondents indicated that the economic downturn had no impact on their green workplace initiatives while 19 percent expanded such programs during the recession.

Cost savings were cited as the leading motivator for environmental programs at 78 percent, followed by the creation of community goodwill (58 percent) and employee engagement/morale (56 percent).

Among the organizations that have a formal green program, the most common practices are:

Recycling and paper reduction (97 percent)
Web and/or teleconferencing (95 percent)
Healthy living and wellness (85 percent)
Internal green communication programs (81 percent)
Light sensors (75 percent)

The survey also found that the proportion of respondents tracking stakeholder feedback on environmental and social responsibility programs has doubled from one year ago, to 62 percent.

Leadership is a critical factor for the success of green workforce initiatives, Buck said – 88 percent of companies with such programs include the CEO in development and communications, while 91 percent have appointed a dedicated leader for their green efforts.

While most hospitals in the US and Europe similarly are evaluating and managing their use of energy and other resources, individual doctor office appear to be far behind with few paying attention to this “bottom line” issue. As important is that doctor are missing the opportunity to improve their public relations profile, and failing to set an example for their patients with envirnmental stewardship that their patients can learn from and emulate.

Among employers that provide incentives to encourage green behaviors, 43 percent provide special employee recognition, 19 percent give prizes, and 14 percent provide a monetary reward.

Buck surveyed over 100 organizations, representing a wide range of industries including financial services, manufacturing, health care, and non-profits.

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