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Earth Day 2011: Working Toward a More Conscious Company

Earth Day 2011: Toward a More Conscious CompanyAs many of you are likely aware, today is the 41st anniversary of Earth Day (I know, doesn’t it feel like just yesterday that we were celebrating its 40th?).  Around the world, people are celebrating and raising awareness of Earth Day’s mission by taking part in everything from clean air and water projects, to bike rides as they ditch their cars, to sending text messages like “TREE” to donate to green causes. This year, 1 billion people are expected to participate in various activities toward making the planet a little bit greener. The goal of this year’s theme, “A Billion Acts of Green,” is to generate a billion acts of environmental service and advocacy before the global Earth Summit 2012 in Rio.

What are business doing to take part?

It’s not only good for the Earth for businesses to take part in Earth Day 2011 — it’s smart for recruitment. Job seekers are increasingly seeking out employment with environmentally responsible companies, and many companies are paying attention. As we reported last year, many companies are continuing to add “green,” or environmentally-focused, positions, and the trend doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. According to recent data pulled from CareerBuilder’s Supply and Demand Portal, jobs like “environmental engineer” are in high demand. In addition, green jobs are expected to grow at the rate of a whopping 1.3 million jobs per year through 2030, and federal, state and private funding is fueling openings for those able to develop solutions for pollution control, recycling, waste management and other public health initiatives.

Greenbiz.com’s Tilde Herrera talked with executives to find out what they’re doing today — or planning for this year — to take part in Earth Day. Answers included such diverse activities as nature walks, dumpster dives, plant-a-tree kit giveaways, and bike donations. Michael Kobori, VP of social and environmental sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co., says the company is piloting a sample fabrics recycling program, as well as partnering with Goodwill to donate wearable apparel during the design process. And Gerri Walsh, director of sustainability at Ball Corporation, says the company will hold a sustainability fair, complete with interactive booths and an electronic recycler for employees to donate old electronics.

The tech sector is also celebrating Earth Day. Facebook’s “Billion Acts of Green” app enables users to choose activities like sending a letter to Congress to support green legislation, getting a home energy audit, or planting a garden, and Sprint has just released its first Android phone, the Replenish (to add to its collection of three other eco-friendly phones), built with recycled materials and energy-efficient operation in mind. Earlier this week, Sprint also launched its Green ID set of applications for Android users, which bundles a green-themed news feeds, recycling tips, personal carbon footprint trackers and more.

Still other companies are celebrating Earth Day (or even Earth Month) with some initiatives that are a little bit different. Old Navy and TerraCycle, for example, are partnering for a “flip-flops replay” in which people are encouraged to turn in old flip-flops to be melted down and used in playgrounds across the country, and health care company Merck, in addition to other initiatives like recently installed solar panels, is offering financial incentives to employees who conduct an energy audit at home and set up a carpooling guide.

How are you celebrating Earth Day 2011?

What is your company doing to take part in Earth Day today — or what has your business done recently to become more environmentally friendly? What kind of an impact is it having on your business and on your employees?

If you are looking for ideas of service projects in your local area, check out the official Earth Day 2011 site. And if you’re looking for a fantastic light show, check out tonight’s Lyrid meteor shower.

Amy McDonnell

About Amy McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the creative services manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.
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