It’s the end of the year with the holidays right in front of us — a time to gather the office community together for celebration, a time to look back on what has been accomplished, and a time to plan for the future. This also makes an ideal time to advance and embed sustainable practices in your organization.

It’s the season to share, and so a natural time to build employee engagement as well as awareness around sustainability and social causes. Consider group activities that give back to the community, such as volunteering together at a local food bank. Or get employees out of the office for a green holiday scavenger hunt. And rather than acknowledging clients and employees — especially millennial employees — with purchased gifts, consider giving experiences instead. For millennials, happiness isn’t as focused on possessions, but instead is about creating, sharing and capturing memories earned through experiences.White elephant exchange

When it comes to company celebrations, there are dozens of creative ideas to make your office gathering greener, from sourcing local for your holiday meal to hosting a white elephant used gift exchange. In the spirit of “regifting”, we invite you to take a look at this REV blog from a couple years ago for ways to green your holiday party.

You might also think about how you can help employees feel good about their own holiday gifts and celebrations by sharing tips, resources, and advice they can take home. Vanderbilt University created this 9-page Sustainable Holiday Green Guide for the Vanderbilt community. Can your organization do something similar for staff and employees?

The giving season creates a higher demand for products and so is a good time to review the kind of value that your products and services deliver. Customers are not only shopping around for good deals, but also for meaningful gifts from responsible companies. Be aware that consumers may be scrutinizing your products and practices more than usual, casting a keen eye on customer reviews and retailer report cards. How can you make customers feel good UPS Carbon Neutralabout doing business with you? Along with the sustainability and quality of your products, how resource-efficient are your shipping practices? UPS offers carbon neutral shipping. And what about your return policies – making it easy for customers to reuse shipping boxes and sustainable packing materials is just one way to help reduce waste.

Lastly, as you look toward the future, what resolutions can your organization declare when it comes to being more sustainable in 2020? Perhaps you can shed a few extra pounds of packaging or manage your energy budget a little better with more efficient lighting and occupancy controls. Get inspired with these 25 Go Green Ideas for the Office from the Business Sustainability Toolkit or this list of ideas from Intuit.

Running your business more sustainably is becoming easier every day, with more resources, information, and ideas available than ever before. The need to live our lives and operate our businesses in a more environmentally conscientious manner is great, but the payoff is even more rewarding with more engaged teams, improved bottom line results, more loyal customers, and an embedded sense of purpose. The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on what we can all do to create a better future for our businesses and communities.