Bryan Winquist

The Role of Safety Managers in Promoting Eco-Friendly Business Practices

Eco Friendly Business

In my journey as an environmental health and safety manager, I’ve come to realize that our responsibilities extend far beyond ensuring compliance and preventing accidents. We are uniquely positioned to influence and promote eco-friendly practices that not only safeguard the workforce but also protect our environment. Today, I want to share how safety managers can be catalysts for sustainable change within their organizations.

Integrating Safety with Sustainability

The intersection of environmental health and safety (EHS) and sustainability is where significant impacts can be made. Traditionally, EHS focuses on protecting workers and preventing environmental harm due to business activities. Sustainability takes this a step further by ensuring that business operations do not negatively impact the environment and even contribute positively wherever possible. By aligning EHS objectives with sustainability goals, safety managers can help drive their organizations towards more eco-friendly practices.

Leading by Example

One of the most effective ways to promote eco-friendly practices is to lead by example. In my role at Tyson Foods, I strive to demonstrate sustainable practices in my daily operations. This can be as simple as enforcing the reduction of waste materials from production processes or implementing more comprehensive recycling initiatives. By setting a precedent for sustainability, safety managers can inspire all levels of an organization to follow suit.

Educating and Training

Education and training are key components of any safety manager’s role, but when it comes to promoting sustainability, they become even more critical. It is essential to regularly educate employees about the environmental impacts of their daily activities and how they can reduce their footprint. Training sessions can include topics like efficient waste management, the importance of recycling, energy conservation techniques, and the benefits of using sustainable materials.

Through continuous education, employees become more aware of how their actions affect the environment, and they are more likely to adopt practices that contribute to sustainability goals.

Advocating for Green Technologies

In today’s world, technology plays a crucial role in making operations more efficient and less harmful to the environment. Safety managers can advocate for the adoption of green technologies within their companies. For instance, replacing old machinery with energy-efficient models can drastically reduce a company’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Moreover, safety managers can work with suppliers to ensure that the materials used in the company are environmentally friendly and sustainably sourced. This not only helps in reducing the environmental impact but also often improves the safety and health conditions within the workplace.

Sustainability Audits

Regular audits are a staple in the safety manager’s toolkit to ensure compliance with safety regulations. Similarly, conducting sustainability audits can help identify areas where environmental improvements are needed. These audits can assess the efficiency of resource use, the adequacy of waste disposal methods, and the effectiveness of environmental management systems.

By integrating these audits into the regular safety checks, safety managers can help their companies not only comply with environmental laws but exceed them, moving towards a more sustainable operation.

Collaborating for a Greener Future

Collaboration is essential in driving any significant change within an organization. Safety managers can collaborate with other departments, such as operations, procurement, and human resources, to develop a unified approach to sustainability. This collaborative approach ensures that eco-friendly practices are implemented across all facets of the organization, enhancing overall effectiveness.

Additionally, safety managers can engage with external stakeholders, including local communities and environmental organizations, to align the company’s practices with broader environmental goals. Such partnerships can lead to innovative solutions that benefit both the company and the community.

Challenges and Rewards

Promoting eco-friendly business practices is not without challenges. It often requires a shift in company culture, updates to existing processes, and initial financial investment. However, the long-term benefits—reduced operating costs, compliance with regulations, enhanced company reputation, and contribution to the global effort against environmental degradation—far outweigh these challenges.

As safety managers, we are in a powerful position to influence positive change. The rewards of seeing your company not only meet safety and environmental standards but also set new benchmarks in sustainability are immensely satisfying.


The role of safety managers in promoting eco-friendly business practices is more crucial now than ever. As we face global challenges like climate change and resource depletion, the corporate world must play a significant part in adopting more sustainable practices. Safety managers, with their expertise in risk management and regulatory compliance, are perfectly equipped to lead this charge. By embracing this expanded role, we can make a substantial impact on the health of our planet and its people, ensuring a safer and greener tomorrow.