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SDG11 – Promoting Sustainable Cities and Communities in the Workplace

Sustainable cities and communities are important to creating a more sustainable and equitable world. In the workplace, there are many ways that organisations can contribute to the development of sustainable cities and communities, both in their operations and in their broader impacts. This topic aims to provide knowledge and understanding of how organisations can promote sustainable cities and communities in the workplace and the actions that can be taken to embed this focus in their practices.

Promoting sustainable cities and communities in a work environment

In a working environment, a sustainable city is a city that is designed and managed in a way that supports the well-being of its inhabitants and the environment. This can include efficient use of natural resources, clean transportation options, and green spaces. A community in a working environment refers to a group of people who share common interests, goals, or values and interact with each other in a particular geographic location.

Sustainable city

A sustainable city is a city that is designed, built, and managed in a way that minimises its environmental impact, conserves natural resources, and promotes the health and well-being of its residents. This can be achieved through various strategies, including energy efficiency, green building design, renewable energy use, sustainable transportation systems, and waste management practices. The goal of a sustainable city is to create a healthy, livable, and economically vibrant community that can thrive in the long term without damaging the environment or depleting natural resources.


A community in a working environment refers to the people who work within a particular organisation or workplace. It includes employees, managers, and other stakeholders such as contractors, suppliers, and customers. A strong sense of community within a workplace can create a positive and supportive atmosphere where individuals feel valued and connected to one another. This can lead to increased collaboration, productivity, and employee satisfaction.

Negative impacts

Poor waste management can negatively impact an organisation by increasing costs and environmental harm. Inequality for employment opportunities can lead to a lack of diversity and inclusivity within the organisation, negatively impacting morale and productivity. The excessive use of hazardous cleaning chemicals can pose risks to the health and safety of workers and potentially harm the environment.

Poor waste management

Poor waste management can have several negative impacts on an organisation. For example, it can lead to increased disposal costs and potential fines if the organisation is not properly disposing of its waste. It can also have negative environmental impacts, such as contributing to pollution and litter and potentially damaging natural habitats. Poor waste management can also negatively impact the health and safety of employees and customers, as it can create hazards and contribute to poor air and water quality.

Inequality in employment opportunities

Inequality for employment opportunities can negatively impact an organisation in several ways. For example, if certain groups or individuals are consistently excluded from employment opportunities due to discrimination or bias, it can create an imbalanced and unfair workplace culture. This can lead to low morale and engagement among employees, as well as potentially undermining the organisation’s reputation and ability to attract top talent. Additionally, if certain groups are consistently underrepresented or excluded from employment, it can contribute to wider societal inequalities and hinder the organisation’s ability to reflect and serve the communities it operates in accurately.

Excessive use of hazardous cleaning chemicals

Excessive use of hazardous cleaning chemicals can negatively impact an organisation.

Firstly, it can be harmful to the health of employees who are exposed to these chemicals regularly. This can lead to increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, and potentially costly legal issues if employees become sick due to their work environment. Secondly, it can negatively impact the organisation’s reputation, as hazardous chemicals may not be perceived as environmentally friendly or sustainable. Finally, it can also increase the organisation’s costs, as purchasing and disposing of these chemicals may be more expensive than the alternative, safer cleaning products.

Positive actions

Technological skills and expertise can improve the efficiency of a company and its ability to compete in the market. Providing employment opportunities for all can create a diverse and inclusive workforce, bringing new perspectives and ideas to the company. Access to good public transport can make it easier for employees to get to and from work, reducing the need for personal vehicles and contributing to a more sustainable city.

There are several actions that an organisation can take to promote sustainable cities and communities in the workplace:

  1. Implementing a waste reduction and recycling programme: This can involve separating different types of waste and working with a waste management company to recycle and dispose of waste in an environmentally friendly manner.
  2. Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace: This can involve actively seeking out and hiring a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive culture that values and supports all employees.
  3. Encouraging sustainable transport: This can involve offering incentives for employees to use public transport or carpooling, or providing access to electric vehicles or bike-sharing programmes.
  4. Supporting local businesses and organisations: This can involve purchasing supplies and services from local vendors and partnering with local organisations to contribute to the community.
  5. Engaging employees in sustainability initiatives: This can involve involving employees in decision-making processes related to sustainability and encouraging them to suggest and implement sustainable practices in the workplace.

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