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A Guide for Manufacturers: Engaging Employees in “Going Green”

Learn how senior leaders at Artopex Inc., a Quebec-based furniture manufacturer, create a culture of sustainability.

Senior leaders are key to creating a culture of sustainability at Artopex.

This guide presents ten proven ways to engage employees in your company’s environmental and social goals. It is based on 30 years of academic and industry research and is designed for HR managers, trainers and employees responsible for health and safety and the environment.

Managers in the manufacturing sector can use the guide’s case study on Canadian furniture manufacturer, Artopex Inc., to identify ways to encourage their employees to go green.

Successes in Canadian Manufacturing

Case Study: Artopex Inc.

Artopex Inc. is 100% Canadian owned and operated with all of its manufacturing facilities in its home province of Quebec. Before producing its first sustainability report, the company retained numerous environmental certifications including ISO 14001.

Put It into Writing

Artopex published its first sustainability report in 2011. Despite not being required to report publicly, the family-run business felt it was important to share its sustainability vision and progress with customers, suppliers, and the community.

Start at the Top

Artopex President Daniel Pelletier is an ardent advocate who expresses his commitment to people and the environment at every opportunity: in reports and presentations, and in day-to-day business decisions.

Make It Someone’s Job

One employee is dedicated to ensuring the company’s manufacturing operations consistently meet ISO 14001 and 9001 standards (for environmental management and quality, respectively). Sustainable Development Coordinator Jean Barbeau is responsible for the company’s overall sustainability plan, along with a colleague in marketing.

Provide Training

Artopex trains all new employees on the company’s sustainability goals and provides a four-hour training session on ISO 14001 adherence. The company is also considering a plan to train all current employees about sustainability. “It will be a major commitment, but we think it’s important for every employee to understand and embrace our sustainability goals,” said Barbeau. Artopex is considering partnering with a third-party organization to deliver the company-wide training.

Assemble Champions

Artopex has two committees dedicated to the company’s business and sustainability goals. The four-person pilot committee includes Barbeau, the vice-president, the marketing director, and the director in charge of ISO 14001. The 12-person management committee meets every three or four months to discuss goals, new ideas, and the sustainability report contents. The committee includes Artopex’s president and representatives from finance, human resources, purchasing, etc. “Having management committee members from across the company ensures sustainability goals are relevant to all areas of the organization,” said Barbeau.

Let Employees Experiment

Artopex employees experiment often, finding ways to improve their manufacturing process: “Employees meet in small groups and challenge the way we do things,” said Barbeau. “The focus initially is improving productivity, but their improvements almost always lead to improvements in quality of life as well for employees and for the end users of our products.”

About this Guide

This guide is based on research by our team and Dr. Stephanie Bertels, Associate Professor, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University.

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