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Sustainable training: tips on going green


What are your tips for trainers on how to develop sustainable L&D and deliver it in the most environmentally friendly way?

I'd welcome your ideas on everything from high level strategic options through to simple everyday actions that all of us in L&D should be doing as a matter of course.

Graham O'Connell

9 Responses

  1. save the planet
    Hi Graham
    great question
    years ago I bought some 3m dry-wipe pads – use them like flip-charts – but wipe them off and re-use them when you have finished – plain on one side feint blue squares on the others – excellent!


  2. environmentalism begins at home…
    A client liked the courses I’ had designed and delivered to them so much that they wanted me to do it in Germany, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore.

    I suggested that they delivered my course using local trainers (including some from their own company)
    I ran a TTT in London for their chosen folk and three years later it is still working.

    (ok, so i didn’t get the airmiles but….!)

    I also laminate all the exercise instructions and re-use them.
    I set up the e-workbook so that all the exercises to be completed and brought to the workshop are co-located at the back so the delegates can print four pages of exercises rather than 66 pages of workbook


  3. PC’s must have a cost
    I’d like to see some sort of measure of the carbon footprint of using a PC per hour.
    Its certainly a factor for CBT.
    Then balance this against the carbon footprint of producing a folder/handout.

    I must admit to a wry smile everytime I ride my works lift, where a backlit electric sign invites me to save energy. Did they consider the electricity or light pollution they would utilise with this 24hrs a day signage?

  4. Green training
    My contributions to green training are:

    1. Design training to be understood and actionable after one sitting therefore reducing or removing the need for repeat or top-up training.

    This will reduce the mileage, accommodation, food and other resources used by people repeating training due to poor initial design / delivery.

    2. Design and provide good quality self development techniques and practices for ongoing application of learning to maximise retention.

    3. Use an appropriate range of solutions rather than always putting training forwards. In Rummler’s model of typical corporate causes of performance issues only one out of 28 causes is addressed by training as the best initial option! Most of the other solutions are much faster, likely to be more effective and used less resource.

    4. Re-cycle your materials. This applies to physical materials such as using both sides of flipcharts (unless confidential info etc.)

    It also applies to using forums like TZ to maximise effective solutions and minimise the time others need to spend on their own energy hungry computers.


  5. Going green

    We went carbon neutral last June – difficult in training with so many car journeys, so we had to offset a certain amount. However one of the actions we took was to send as much mail as possible electronically – invoices, brochures, agenda, proposals etc (this we have calculated as saving of £1500 a year on materials and time. A wothwhile saving for a small company!) We also recycle 95% of all our waste, print double sided, use scrap paper in our office. We take public transport as much as possible and managed to cut 1000 miles a month with the two directors sharing a 1000cc Diahatsu rather than drive a large car.

    We also publicise what others can do – on each email there is a changing green tip, on all brochures and our website we have pages of green tips. And we are training environmental groups for free on presentation skills to help them present their cases more effectively.

    This last point is one I would like to see more trainers take up as, by ourself, we can only do a little but by training up others to take the messaage further we can be more influential.

    I am happy to speak to anyone who wants to speak about all that we have done.

    Cameron Scott

  6. PCs?
    How can we cut down on use of electricity to power and plastic to manufacture PCs/printers/VDU’s etc? we all seem to be advocating using emails etc. but this simply causes the person at the other end to sit on a PC (and perhaps not turn it off) using electricity and maybe buying more PC’s/peripherals.

    Its not all about paper usage what about PC green -ness and sustainability? Does anyone know of any studies on this?

    Here we are, I answered my own question

  7. Go Green…Go Virtual!
    Speaking with my learning technologies hat on, one of my former clients – a global company – asked for 15 workshops as part of their learning and development provision. BUT…well aware of the impact of flying staff around the globe – and in business class too – they also stipulated that they would also need totally virtual versions of each workshop, delivered via a series of webinars. This would require the same content to be delivered by the same trainers, but re-engineered for this environment, so that none of the interactivity or learning impact was lost. The re-engineering work would amount to a sizable number of days of extra development, but the cost of this was more than swallowed up by the cost and environmental impact reduction that resulted.


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