How to form a workplace environment committee

Pierre Ducasse | CUPE Communications

Promotion of a healthy environment is integrally linked to other aspects of occupational health and safety. The phenomenon of climate change makes it clear that unions need to be at the forefront of environmental engagement starting with our own workplaces.

To support this effort, CUPE has produced a fact sheet to assist members and locals seeking to explore related issues. “How to Form a Workplace Environment Committee” provides ideas and useful suggestions. Some environment com.mittees are made up solely of workers, while others are joint committees with the employer. Multiple models are possible. 

“Although the environment and workplace health are closely related, experience has shown that environment committees should ideally be distinct and independent from, for example, health and safety committees,” said Matthew Firth, CUPE senior officer Health and Safety, national office. “This leaves the environment committee free to focus specifically on its own mandate and work.” 

“A variety of actions can be taken to improve environmental performance in the workplace in relation to recycling, energy and water conservation, modes of transportation, meetings, etc. It is not always easy to know where to begin. The CUPE website offers an eco-audit tool used to assess current workplace practices and provide ideas concerning possible actions,” said CUPE National-Secretary Treasurer Charles Fleury. 

“We can and we must do more,” added Carmel Forde co-chair of CUPE’s National Environment Committee. “It’s important to show that unions are part of the solution. We take pride that CUPE cares about the environ.ment,” said Joanne Azevedo the committee’s other co-chair. 

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