For large organisations, making real CO2 reductions can often rest on making sure employees know exactly how they can help. To spread awareness among its growing employee population and co-ordinate overall environmental goals, Gulfstream created ‘Green Teams’.

With 25 Green Teams and more than 525 team members, the business aviation manufacturer has been able to develop a long-term renewable fuels agreement, establish ‘Design for Environment’ training, improve energy efficiency and create an emerging base of engaged, sustainability-minded employees.

The Green Team initiative began at Gulfstream in 2012, following several months of development. From the very beginning, Green Team activities (and the sustainability strategy that supported them) were guided by an imperative to reduce energy use (including jet fuel in the build and testing process), waste (solid and hazardous), greenhouse gas emissions and water (drinking and waste).

During the initial “boot camp” event, teams walk their facility with new eyes for new ideas, and then spend time iteratively refining and prioritising what they discovered until they have a consolidated list of their most important tasks. Each Green Team develops its own list of projects within the broader company reduction goals. Thousands of projects and initiatives have been identified, focusing on behaviour changes.

A Green Team contest reduced energy consumption 3.1% at Gulfstream’s Research and Development Centre in Savannah, Georgia. Another long-term initiative incorporates renewable fuels into daily flight operations with CO2 savings of over 50%. One facility was able to divert 100% of its previous landfill waste into recycling or energy recovery.

Today, the Green Teams have grown from relatively isolated groups of employees working on general goals that reduce environmental impact to specialised teams that focus on high-impact, high-interest activities across sites that directly support corporate sustainability strategies.