It turns out that the benefits for companies that embrace sustainability go beyond energy efficiency, risk mitigation, opportunity for innovation and corporate social responsibility. Sustainability has a direct effect on your employees.
According to Ante Glavas, Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, “People who work for green companies have a pride-in-ownership mentality and are happier and more productive.”
THREE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS MORE MEANINGFUL
1. Link Sustainability to Employee Engagement
Higher productivity is certainly a no-brainer for any CEO, no matter what the industry. Based on its own findings, Gallup calls employee engagement “a leading indicator of financial performance.” The same research demonstrated that engaged organizations have 3.9 times the earnings per share growth rate compared to organizations with lower engagement in the same industry.”
Furthermore, pride-in-ownership is not simply about smiling employees showing up for work every day; more critical to the bottom line, pride-in-ownership could lead to greater employee retention, resulting in cost savings from lower turnover.
2. Show Your Commitment to Nourish Both Health & Planet
Food tops the agenda for many people concerned with our environment, health, and communities. This is where concern about the rising obesity epidemic in the U.S. comes together with the global recognition that the food we grow consumes 70 percent of the planet’s available fresh water, affects more than half its habitable land and influences the livelihood of about a billion people. Food served on site, at meetings, and in a company’s products is a highly visible opportunity that every organization has to show they care about health and the environment. Food also provides an opportunity to engage the workforce in whatever sustainability issues matter to you – climate change, waste, water supply, healthy living, etc. Companies that do this best have a multi-dimensional approach.
3. Go Beyond Your Boundaries to Address What Matters Most
Often our greatest impacts lie outside the boundaries of our own businesses. Sustainability requires collaboration within our own organizations and throughout the supply chain. Just look at the way companies are now accounting for climate impacts. Traditionally, companies have measured emissions from their own energy production and purchase. However, the world has recognized a growing need for a more complete picture. This has never been more important, given the recently released numbers by the Global Carbon Project, which shows that 2010 brought the biggest jump on record for global carbon emissions – an increase of 5.9 percent according to coverage by the New York.
Sustainability contains opportunities to motivate employees, reach new customers, innovate business models, improve financial bottom lines, and feel good about the contribution to improving the world.