Getting started: Why engage your employees?
According to a recent survey from Brighter Planet, which works with organisations to help reduce their carbon footprint, 86% of respondents said they were not engaged by their employers on sustainability, even though the same number said it was promoted by their organisation. So how do businesses bridge the gap?
Eating according to the seasons has for many people been largely consigned to the past now that you can buy produce, such as strawberries and asparagus, year-round thanks to refrigeration, heated greenhouses and global transportation. These methods create “food miles” (the distance the food has travelled from producer to consumer); every single mile adds to the food’s carbon footprint.
Capturing the hearts and minds of employees and getting them to believe in sustainable or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies is the Holy Grail of managers and human resources personnel. Without commitment from the workforce, the success of a company’s sustainability policies is likely to have limited impact. Creating an organisational culture that encourages staff to actively pursue energy-saving, waste-minimisation and ethical practices through emotional engagement is key to helping a business reach its sustainability goals. If employees’ values reflect the company’s values, and if staff believe that the company genuinely cares about the same things they do, they will be more motivated and productive. In fact, a recent poll by Gallup Consulting of more than 125 businesses found that those with highly engaged staff have 18% greater productivity and 12% higher profitability.
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