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The green workplace

By Sun Ye | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-02 09:48
The green workplace
The green workplace

Xiao Zhu puts different labels on the cans to sort garbage in the restaurant. Feng Yongbin / China Daily

Her position is still unique in a society that is just waking up to the value of being eco-friendly. Sun Ye finds out more about a manager who has a very special job.

Related: Making an impact

Xiao Zhu works at a trendy pizza parlor, and she has a very unusual position. She is an environment manager at Gung Ho and by making sure the little details are all in the right places, she hopes to change the larger picture. As the environment manager of the pizza restaurant, her key performance indices are: proper garbage sorting and recycling, minimizing food waste and educating and sharing green ideas with the other staff. She's a fast-speaking, hardcore environmentalist with a twist in her philosophy. She believes that protecting the environment is not charity work but that it has value, should be worked at, and the effort should be paid for.

To practice what she believes, Xiao wants to make and save money for the company while protecting the environment, a middle path widely thought of as impractical. But she is not daunted, and determined to experiment and learn.

She left her lucrative IT project manager's job at a major multinational to practice what she preaches. "I have the passion and don't want to see it go to waste," she says.

It's difficult for commercial enterprises to go green, a strategy that is generally believed to add extra costs. For example, the most basic garbage sorting means more paid labor has to be invested. However, Xiao is getting a grip on the key to finding the economic incentives.

That's how she made it possible for a dozen of her colleagues to sit down for a talk on PM 2.5 particles and a sharing session of their weekend trip to a waste treatment plant.

To the average audience, what PM 2.5 particles actually are is anyone's guess, but with "Teacher Xiao" at the helm, the discussion speculates "it has something to do with carbon emissions".

Xiao explains everything, from causes to precautions. She also recommends an air-quality monitoring app and says, "Try to stay inside when the figure goes beyond 150."

Wang Cuiling, a 47-year-old cleaner who began the session blinking blindly at the screen says afterwards, "I can't wait to tell my husband what Teacher Xiao told us."

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