Activities to Embed Sustainability

activities imageEngaging and empowering staff for sustainability takes more than a random assortment of awareness-raising exercises. Best practice organisations find out what their people need and target their sustainability initiatives to be relevant and constructive.

Research on this enabler…

  • A study of the impact of sustainability initiatives at Caesars Entertainment found that high involvement in such activities resulted higher staff engagement and higher customer loyalty
  • Research reported by GlobeScan found that 83 percent of employees of large companies indicated they expected to be not only engaged with their company’s sustainability strategy, but also to be educated by their company to be more sustainable in their own lives.
  • The power of competition was illustrated by a  study into energy-saving behaviours at work, which found that giving employees feedback and comparing their energy use to colleagues resulted in significant energy reductions

Strategies for improving this enabler…

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  • Conduct regular forums for staff to develop interesting and relevant sustainability knowledge and skillsets
  • Plan sustainability activities to be a combination of fun and learning
  • Embed sustainability into existing activities and events, reinforcing the concept of sustainability as part of everything we do, not a separate thing
  • Ensure activities are constructive and provide an opportunity for personal change and insight
  • Link sustainability activities to the organisation’s sustainability strategies and goals
  • Provide employees with multiple opportunities for engagement, from passive participation through to ongoing active involvement
  • Follow up on sustainability initiatives with feedback and success stories
  • Competitions can be fun and effective, especially if people feel empowered to contribute
  • Ensure visible senior level involvement in sustainability activities (not just endorsement)

Best Practice Examples…

  • French IT multi-national Legrand conducted a 26-day energy saving “marathon” which challenged employees to find ways of reduce their energy consumption, in order to “bring energy efficiency to the forefront, boost energy awareness and have fun!”. The result was an energy saving over the period of 15%, and cost savings of over $46,000.
  • Engagement initiatives at Canada’s TD Bank include energy saving competitions between departments and encouraging employees to sign green pledges.
  • Unilever held a ‘Smarter Greener Living boot camp”, where employees learned various tips and strategies for reducing their environmental footprint both at home and work. After attending the workshop, up to 9 out of 10 employees made changes to reduce their waste, energy and water.

How Awake can help…

  • Awake can facilitate sustainability engagement workshops for employees, where they not only learn about sustainability, but have the opportunity to self-reflect and undertake psychology-based exercises to make personal changes for sustainability
  • Results of the Sustainability Culture Indicator can help you prioritise your sustainability activities to address the areas where employees most need input to help them engage, such as more knowledge, more empowerment or more peer support.
  • By training your green team in behaviour change and engagement techniques, Awake can ensure that the people responsible for delivering your sustainability activities are confident and equipped to influence change in their colleagues

Other useful resources…