Businesses that incorporate sustainability into their core values are doing more than being good stewards of the earth; they are helping protect their communities, saving money and attracting green consumers and motivated employees. Companies going green include Canon U.S.A., Anheuser-Busch, 3M, Caterpillar and Pfizer, according to the EPA. There’s a business value in building sustainability into operations that’s part of the triple bottom line—increasing your financial, social and environmental performance.
Businesses benefit from green operations and sustainability because nearly three-fourths of consumers consider a company’s environmental record as an important part of the buying decision, according to The Boston Consulting Group. Their study of approximately 9,000 people ages 18 to 65 in nine countries showed that consumers believe companies can have a greater impact with green initiatives than individuals, but still need to improve and increase their promotion of green offerings to make sure people know about them.
Effects on Employees
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) that includes going green is a big part of employee attraction, retention and engagement according to a 2012 study by Net Impact. More than half of workers surveyed said making an impact at work was important to their happiness, so much so that they’d take a pay cut to work for a company that makes a social or environmental impact, or an organization that supports their own values.
CSR boosts employee engagement by making them feel happy they are contributing to something meaningful. Communicating the opportunities and successes of environmentally friendly projects is good public relations but it’s also a good recruitment strategy that attracts top talent.
The EPA recommends engaging employees with green initiatives by asking for ideas on how to reduce the company’s environmental impact and encouraging their participation in building green practices. There are many areas to focus on including, but not limited to: air pollution, erosion, hazardous waste, energy use and resource use.
How Companies Are Going Green For Employees
Companies like Apple Rubber use green initiatives to commit to employee health and wellness. Stress management is a crucial skill employees should have, and by giving them the tools to do this in a green way, Apple Rubber is showing them they care. Their smoke-free wellness area is an outdoor gazebo made from sustainable materials and located in a beautiful, relaxing location to provide an oasis from work stress.
Georgetown University uses student-staff initiatives for its onsite renewable energy project, installing solar panels on university-owned row houses to generate the solar power that reduces thousands of pounds of carbon pollution.
Microsoft set a goal to substantially reduce its carbon emissions, and did so by investing in renewable energy and carbon reduction projects. The Microsoft Green blog, sustainability reports and information on its website are all vehicles in which the company shares its green practices with employees.
Dell, Inc. works hard to reduce its environmental impact with green power use and improved efficiencies such as building upgrades, power management strategies and its Planet employee resource group. For these initiatives Dell was a 2013 winner of the EPA’s Green Power Leadership Award.