Creating an environmentally conscious culture in the workplace does not happen overnight, particularly in industries commonly associated with having the worst environmental impact.
But in these days of increasing demands from consumers and governments, all businesses must take sustainability seriously at all levels of the organisation.
To help combat the challenges of building a sustainable business model, here are 4 ways to start building an environmentally conscious culture at your workplace, with some extra tips too:
#1. Win employee support
A company’s employees can be its greatest asset in the fight against climate change.
Firstly, they are a major source of information, data and insight – a crucial element of any science-based strategy or life cycle analysis.
Secondly, galvanising employee support and motivating them to make changes on an individual and collective basis creates a feeling of solidarity and loyalty across the company.
#2. Secure buy-in from management
Securing buy-in at all levels of a company is vital.
But if your sustainability initiatives are not backed by the decision-makers at the top of the organisation, any plans you make will be dead in the water before they have even been launched.
It is essential to use a science-based approach, with a clear analysis of how sustainability will benefit the business in the long-term. This needs to be especially strong if you need to ask for costly investigations, research, innovation and investment as part of the strategy.
Managers and CEOs need to see the return on investment if they are to commit to a long-term sustainability plan, as well as the risks of not becoming sustainable.
Ultimately, their main goal is to make a profit – and it is a sustainability manager’s role to prove how they can do this alongside making the company greener.
#3. Invest in green skills training
Sustainability within an organisation should not only be in the hands of a sustainability manager or a few members of staff.
By equipping colleagues at all levels of the organisation with the knowledge and tools to make a real difference, you will not only share out the workload and improve collaboration across departments, but also facilitate staff development and career progression opportunities.
At TSW Training, we provide a wide range of IEMA environment and sustainability courses at various levels and durations to equip workers with the right knowledge and skills to gather information, monitor and report, innovate, communicate and respond to changing environmental laws and regulations.
Such skills will be important in terms of meeting future challenges, as well as today’s business needs.
#4. Clear communication
Internal communication is key to getting employees on board when it comes to sustainability.
In addition to common goals as a company, each individual employee should be encouraged to meet their own personal goals.
For example, the business could set challenges regarding recycling or community clean-up operations with rewards for the highest achievers.
Sharing the company’s findings and being transparent is also crucial in achieving staff buy-in.
It’s no good getting staff engaged at the beginning of your sustainability initiative, only to waste their goodwill by failing to provide follow-ups.
Any findings from sustainability audits, life cycle analysis or data regarding progress should be shared with the whole company where possible, encouraging the business as a whole, and every individual member of staff, to do better to help the environment.
⏰Key point: It is also prudent to communicate your net zero efforts externally. Using your website, social media and press releases to communicate efforts to the wider media lets your customers and the wider public, including government and competitors, know how you are making your products and processes greener.
More tips to get colleagues onboard with sustainability
- Build a sense of working together to achieve a common goal, by organising activities such as litter picks, beach cleans etc
- Provoke competition among colleagues or departments by offering rewards for weekly or monthly efforts regarding sustainability
- Offer green skills training as part of colleagues’ 1-to-1s or appraisals, building sustainability into key performance indicators (KPIs) throughout the business
- Create a sustainability newsletter or promote your sustainability campaign via existing internal communication channels such as the intranet
- Share other forms of information, such as websites, books and podcasts on sustainability to inspire your colleagues
Listen to our training experts on how your business can become more sustainable, in our green skills podcast