On April 22, 1970, something happened that seems almost impossible now. A Democratic Senator and Republican Congressman got together and organized a national event to advocate for environmental sustainability.
Across the country, 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day and protested for change in our oil consumption and industrial practices. Every year since, the U.S. celebrates Earth Day as a way to educate the public on the current threats to our environment.
This year, Earth Day is Monday, April 22 and the focus is on the rapid mass extinctions that are occurring as a result of human activity. According to a 2009 study published in Environ Health Perspect and posted on EarthDay.org, species are going extinct at rates 100 to 1,000 times the natural rate. Since the dinosaurs went extinct 60 million years ago, there has not been such a massive threat to the planet and its biodiversity.
What does this have to do with medical sales? Actually, a lot. As a leader in the industry, you have the power to enact green initiatives. By starting this coming Earth Day, you and your employees can build habits that will carry throughout the year and do your part to help the environment.
Here are five ways you and your medical sales team can be more environmentally friendly:
Let your team start from home a few days a week.
For medical sales reps, travel is part of the gig. They have to spend most of their day in the car, driving from meeting to meeting. However, there are ways to minimize how much fuel your reps are using and their CO2 emissions.
Many days, medical sales reps drive to the office for a few hours of work only to, then, drive in the complete opposite direction for their sales meetings. On days when it makes geographic sense, let members of your team start their workday from home.
They can remotely complete their necessary ‘desk’ tasks and then drive (or better yet, commute) to meetings with customers. This cuts out the back-and-forth to the office. Over time, reducing their time on the road adds up and makes a meaningful difference for the environment.
Go paperless where you can.
If you haven’t yet, Earth Day is the time to go paperless. Countless apps and programs allow medical sales reps to electronically bill and invoice their customers. In fact, making the change will probably be a big hit with doctors and patients who care about the environment.
Also take a critical look at your internal processes and find additional opportunities to go green. For example, you can make everything from payroll to onboarding to office supply requests digital. In many cases, not only is this more environmentally conscious, but also more efficient for your entire team.
Take a stand on social media.
At its heart, Earth Day is about educating and advocating for change. Your medical sales organization can participate year-round by sharing your initiatives and related information on social media. This will make your followers better-informed and, hopefully, inspired to do more for the environment themselves.
Start by sharing photos of how your employees try to be greener every day. If employees carpool or use reusable water bottles and cups, celebrate that on social media. Even small changes make a big impact when sharing them on your social profiles because your followers can learn new ways to do their part.
When appropriate, share new research or information about environmental events as well. You can also support local ecological organizations by resharing and liking their posts.
Make a once-a-quarter pledge.
There are countless ways your medical sales organization can be more environmentally friendly. In fact, as more green products are developed and processes are refined, many green-actions are becoming outdated. Just think about the wide use of plastics. For a while, many people chose to use plastic containers because they were reusable. But now we know, when we finally discard those products, they take decades to biodegrade.
Make sure, over the years, your company is consistently doing the best it can for the environment. Once-a-quarter, ask your employees for suggestions about changes the team can make to do more for the environment. There might be a specific cause they want to address or maybe they’ve learned about a new recycling system.
Once you have suggestions, everyone can vote on that quarter’s pledge. But here’s the critical part: follow through. As the company leader, it’s your job to remind your medical sales employees of their pledge throughout the quarter to encourage them to participate and establish better habits.
Encourage team members to create an Act of Green.
Earth Day Network is striving to create long-term change, so the organization is always thinking ahead. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and to celebrate, Earth Day Network is trying to get 3 billion people to create Acts of Green. These are commitments to make a personal change to help the environment.
Encourage your medical sales employees to be green not only at work but at home, too. Acknowledge your team’s effort by sharing their acts on social media. This will recognize their dedication and help to continually educate your followers about the environment.
Earth Day only happens once a year, but we need to work year-round to deal with the threats to the environment. Take these tips and use them at your medical sales organization so you and your employees can make positive changes for our planet.