Three ways to improve your environmental performance through staff engagement
Employees have direct control over a large amount of energy, fuel and resources that are used in organisations. So engaging staff in initiatives to reduce environmental impacts is a no-brainer. In fact, behaviour changes have a large return on investment for sustainability projects. South West Water in the UK is CEMARS certified and David Rose, Carbon Manager, said “Over one year staff suggested projects saved over one megawatt of electrical demand, the equivalent of £600,000”.
There are a number of ways to ensure you capitalise on the power of your employees to help you reduce impacts and emissions.
Put it on the Agenda
By making sustainability an agenda item and business as usual you encourage staff to think about opportunities to find efficiencies in processes or resources. But don’t just stop there; incorporate it into company policy and the resulting objectives, priorities and responsibilities. When employees can regularly see others taking action and prioritising environmental initiatives, they are more likely to take notice and participate too. Ray Moore, Logistics/Despatch Manager at Webstar, said “It may seem hard to get momentum at first but once the processes are in place, people do jump on board so stick with it”.
Communicate: Put Carbon Emissions alongside Financials
People like numbers, the world is built on them, so employees can see progress again sustainability goals when they are measured and displayed in a familiar format. For your sales team - plot them against sales revenue. For your technical team – plot them against client support hours delivered. Basically, plot the sustainability result against the metric most familiar to your team for the best result.
It’s safe to say that caring for the environment is inherently feel-good. So make sure you maintain that same positivity when communicating with your employees about sustainability. When staff believe they are contributing to something good, they will have a sense of achievement which leads to improved productivity and retention. Positivity is catchy – bring your employees along for the message to the whole organisation. Dr David Galler, Intensive Care Specialist at Counties Manukau Health knows this well, and said “Thanks to staff support Counties Manukau Health is on track to really make significant and meaningful changes”.
Want to see how an environmental certification can help you manage your environmental impacts better? Get in touch to find out more.