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. 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.
Create ongoing competition with league tables across sites or departments and announce winners every month or quarter.
6 Communication Show employees what has already been achieved and ensure achievements are continually recognised, through staff newsletters, intranet and award ceremonies. By showing staff how they can save money at home through their actions, the gap between behaviour at work and home is reduced.
4 Meet every month to ensure continuity and momentum Have an annual plan.
Ad hoc events will also emerge but it helps to start with specific planned events throughout the year.
“They are,” she says, “key to successful employee engagement, offering a framework to express their green values at work, increasing retention, attracting the best talent and educating staff on corporate-sustainability goals.” Philip Newman-Hall, director/general manager of Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, near Oxford, England, which is owned by Orient-Express Hotels, advises: “Our green team was initially a staff idea and is made up of people who have a natural interest in the subject. If the ideas come from the team [pictured above], we find they get introduced much more quickly than if it was just a diktat from above.” But it’s not enough to just tap into enthusiasm, it’s important to engage cynical members of staff, too.
From his experience, Newman-Hall says it tends to be the younger employees who are keenest and it is mainly through their “infectious enthusiasm” that other staff become engaged.
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.