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a guide to switching your employees on to sustainability

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Getting involved: a guide to switching your employees on to sustainability CBI on climate change CBI Getting involved: a guide to switching your employees on to sustainability Being sustainable and competitive
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Getting involved: a guide to switching your employees on to sustainability CBI on climate change CBI Getting involved: a guide to switching your employees on to sustainability Being sustainable and competitive Companies that succeed in the twenty-first century will be those that seize the opportunity to adapt to a low-carbon future. Embedding sustainability into your core operations including engaging employees will help you take full advantage of this shift. Engaging your employees in a sustainability programme makes real business sense. A successful programme can deliver improved staff productivity, a stronger corporate identity, a reduced environmental impact and a more committed workforce. We ve produced this guide for companies looking to set-up employee engagement programmes focused on sustainability. There s no single or right way to do this, but the practical tips in this guide should help you roll-out an employee engagement programme which suits your business. How to get started 10 Start the whole process again, a little wiser! 9 Assess uptake and impact 8 Roll-out the programme across the business 7 Run a pilot, evaluate and get feedback 6 Develop the programme(s) It is not just the world s political and business leaders who see cutting carbon emissions as a pressing issue. There is also an increasingly powerful expectation from employees that their employers develop policies in this area. Meeting these expectations can be a win-win employees feel more engaged and the business reaps the consequent productivity benefits 1. These benefits are multiple and won t be the same for everyone but getting these programmes right can give businesses the edge over their competitors. For a start, consumers increasingly expect companies to recognise their broader environmental impact and take action to manage them. 2 1 Assess what you re currently doing 2 Specify what you want to achieve by engaging employees 3 Clarify the driver(s) for doing this (see below) 4 Understand and sell the business case to senior management 5 Get ideas from employees Why engage employees on sustainability? But it is not just in the consumer market where this can be important a growing number of corporate customers are spending their money with companies which have sustainable practices. Sales and marketing messages can also be developed on the back of success in this area. Employees are more likely to be enthusiastic about the product or service they sell if they understand its wider sustainability-related implications. A good story founded on employee engagement and sustainability can also create a very effective marketing message. CBI Getting involved: a guide to switching your employees on to sustainability Here are four reasons to help you build the business case: 1 Resource efficiency: the bottom-line benefits Using any resource more efficiently will deliver bottom-line savings from the paper used in office printers to the electricity powering the computers. Take energy use - it has been estimated the UK currently wastes 8.5b a year through inefficient use of energy 3. Employees will often provide the most effective new ideas for saving energy, as they often understand what s going on the shop floor better than management. So engaging them in a sustainability programme will not only help ensure it is properly focused but also that required changes are fed back up the management tree. And what s important is that the savings made will automatically be translated straight to your bottom line, which is essential when resources are tight. 2 Organisational improvements: working better together In many organisations, teams and departments often work in groups that can be hard to integrate. Employee engagement programmes focused on sustainability can bring together employees with a common interest in environmental issues to develop a team spirit, breaking down barriers and increasing levels of communication between staff. Getting this right can make a difference: so much of what provides a competitive edge in today s economy is intangible, and can only be developed through collaboration and co-operation between employees. 4 Some of the benefits of bringing your employees together through an engagement programme on sustainability include: Stronger organisational group identity Increased sharing of ideas between employees 3 Environmental leadership: demonstrating a commitment to act There are two reasons why employee engagement programmes focused on sustainability can help your company s environmental goals. Firstly it sends a powerful signal to the broader market that a company is serious about the issues involved and is making real efforts to embed new ways of working more sustainably. Secondly, it also reminds staff that sustainability is taken seriously by the company. Getting employee buy-in into an effective sustainability programme can give a company real opportunities to reduce its environmental impact - operationally and by developing new low-carbon products or services. Recruitment and retention: getting 4 and keeping the right people In a competitive marketplace for talent, the cost of getting the best person for a role can be high. And furthermore keeping the best staff in an economic downturn can be a basic necessity for survival. Getting employees involved in sustainability programmes can be an additional attraction as staff increasingly expect their employer to have a good image regarding their environmental impact. Demonstrating a true commitment to sustainability in the workplace can be a real deciding factor for potential employees to choose one employer over another. 5 Better understanding of different teams capabilities Clearer understanding of client requirements New opportunities for cross-selling a product or service. Keep feeding me! Where next? Further information There is a lot more help out there if you feel ready to roll-out one of these programmes within your company. These include: The Energy Saving Trust Business in the Community The Carbon Trust BusinessLink CBI Footnotes 1 For further details: D. Guest & N. Conway (2004) Employee well-being and the psychological contract - Research report for the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development 2 For further details: Boston Consulting Group (2009) Capturing the Green Advantage for Consumer Companies 3 For further details: CBI (2009) Less is more: building an energy efficient UK reports/00167/ 4 See D. Robinson, S. Perryman & S. Hayday(2004) The drivers of employee engagement Institute for Employment Studies 5 For further details: PricewaterhouseCoopers (2009) Managing tomorrow s people Case studies We have provided a set of case studies from companies which have put in place an employee engagement programme focused on sustainability. We ve drawn these up to provide a range of ideas about what is possible from integrating sustainability into day-to-day performance management to providing guidance on how people can lower their own carbon footprint to creating carbon clubs for interested employees. CBI Getting involved: a guide to switching your employees on to sustainability Tesco Integrating sustainability into individuals performance Tesco, the UK s largest retailer, wanted to embed sustainability into their employees everyday work. To put this into practice, Tesco modified its performance management tool known as the Steering Wheel to incorporate Community as a key metric, a major part of which includes protecting the environment. The addition of the new community segment in 2006 was the first change to the Steering Wheel in over a decade, and reflected the growing importance of environmental sustainability to employees, customers and the business. Performance of each member of staff or business unit across all global operations is now measured against these objectives. By putting the environment at the heart of its business planning tool, Tesco made a clear statement to every employee in the global business that its environmental targets and projects were a great deal more than PR stunts, or passing fads. Employees now clearly recognise the importance of sustainability to the company, with every staff member from the shop-floor to the chief executive graded on aligned metrics. 1. Ensure buy-in from your board to help drive change 2. Introduce key performance indicators (KPIs) that make clear how the business is tracking against its targets Blue Rocket Group Employee-led sustainability in a small company For many smaller companies, sustainability might not be considered a key priority, but since its inception in 2003, ethical PR company Bluerocket has placed sustainability and employee engagement at the heart of everything it does and is well-known for. The team of rocketeers is a vital part of this. Each employee is encouraged to constantly feed in new ideas for further improvement and development. The company has many open channels of communication for employees to understand the initiatives and help add to them. Initiatives already implemented include the appointment of a green champion with responsibility for sending out a weekly factoid about sustainability, competitions for new ideas on sustainability and creation of an office library of books on sustainability. Blue Rocket has found the initiatives that have worked best are those on which employees have been consulted first, giving them a higher level of engagement from the start. 1. Keep channels of communication between employees open 2. Engage employees who often provide the freshest ideas 3. Never rule out any source of inspiration or new thinking on how to do things better 3. Make sure performance against these KPIs is given equal weight with those for more traditional areas such as finance and operations. CBI Getting involved: a guide to switching your employees on to sustainability BT Motivating people to protect our changing world Under the banner I want to make a difference, BT a global communications company is encouraging its people to make small changes that, together, will make a big difference. The goal is to get 20% of its 100,000+ employees worldwide actively involved to make a sustainable difference to the company and the environment by BT people can make a difference individually or as members of carbon clubs. The clubs are a great way for colleagues to share ideas and undertake projects together. So far around 130 clubs have been formed across the world. BT is encouraging its employees to come up with new ideas. For example the Little by little club in Korea decided to fine colleagues for leaving things switched on overnight. The amount collected so far has been used to buy china mugs for people to use at work instead of paper cups. BT is also encouraging its employees to reduce their personal CO2 emissions at home, at work and in the local community. By December 2008, more than 13,000 pledges had been received. The engagement campaign is constantly evolving as learning what works well is improved and employee feedback and ideas are taken on board. 1. Create a philosophy to motivate people make it fun, creative and viral 2. Welcome every contribution, no matter how small say thank-you 3. Encourage an element of competition in a positive, human way 4. Recognise effort and achievement through development, not cash 5. Create opportunities for people to learn share successes, encourage ideas. RWE npower Taking sustainability messages beyond the business RWE npower, a leading UK energy supplier, has developed an employee engagement programme that helps its employees take messages on sustainability out to local schools. Its Climate cops academy events are highly interactive days focused on climate change at which young pupils learn through a combination of activities, video presentations and team challenges. The pupils also develop their personal skills such as communication, team working and problem solving. Climate Cops has inspired thousands of young people aged between 4-14 to make a positive difference to their environment. In 2008, 139 schools, 8,558 pupils and 275 npower employees participated in these events. It has also helped teachers increase their confidence in talking to students about climate change and sustainability. Finally, the programme has really helped npower employees develop their personal and professional skills and share their skills and knowledge with young people across the country. The overall programme has created positive media coverage locally and nationally. 1. Keep it fun and engaging the more fun everyone has, the more likely they are to put their learnings into practice. 2. Get your employees actively involved don t tell people what to do, encourage them to tell you what they want. 3. Create a way for employees to pass the message on give them the tools to inspire others. Your work is so much easier if they help you do it! CBI Getting involved: a guide to switching your employees on to sustainability Sun Microsystems Getting employees involved in corporate sustainability Sun Microsystems, a global IT company, has worked hard to involve its workforce in sustainability. In 2008, Sun launched an internal campaign called Every job is an eco job. Using presentations, online communities, surveys and intranet postings to encourage employees to explore how their jobs can contribute to Sun s social- and eco-responsibility and business goals. Sun also created its Employee Sustainability Council to provide a sounding board and feedback mechanism for its social and eco responsibility teams. The council grew from 28 to 47 members in Finally, in March 2008, Sun launched an employee sustainability group on the social networking site Facebook, in an effort to use the site s popularity to engage employees. At the end of 2008, the group had 145 members around the world. All these efforts have paid dividends: in their 2008 staff survey, the proportion of Sun employees who felt the company acted responsibly increased dramatically. 1. Take a holistic view of your organisation and all its inputs and outputs, breaking these systems down into bite-size pieces 2. Learn from other organisations, especially outside your industry as it challenges ingrained thinking 3. Keeping asking yourself How can we make this better? How can we improve? Innocent Integrating sustainability into the core business values Being a sustainable business has been essential to innocent, a smoothie maker, right from the beginning and every employee is accountable for delivering this goal. Sustainability is completely embedded in the brand with being responsible as one of its five business values. The process begins during recruitment, with potential employees assessed against their ability to deliver the business values. There are induction and role-specific training sessions to ensure each employee is fully empowered to achieve the best results. Progress towards annual sustainability targets is discussed during weekly company meetings. Sustainability is not limited to job function employees are encouraged to reduce day to day impacts through cycle-to-work schemes (showers are provided at work), car pooling, composting and recycling, hybrid fleet cars and offices powered by renewable energy. Employees buying renewable energy for their homes receive a 50 incentive. Innocent believes this all-encompassing approach to sustainability is crucial: employees must see sustainability at every level and understand the difference they can make as a company and as individuals. 1. Develop a clear strategy, communicate it, and celebrate success. 2. Embed sustainability into every level and aspect of the company. 3. Ensure people understand the benefits of their own actions big and small. Your case study here: We d like to hear about and showcase your company s successful schemes. Send your story to Your company name: Your story: Your : Climate change: everyone s business The CBI climate change board: building a low-carbon economy The CBI climate change board was set up in 2008 to deliver the commitments set out in the CBI 2007 climate change taskforce report Climate change: everyone s business. The report recognised that government, business and consumers all have a role to play in making the shift to a low-carbon economy. The board brings together senior business leaders from a range of sectors to demonstrate business commitment to managing the risk of climate change by: August 2009 Copyright CBI 2009 The content may not be copied, distributed, reported or dealt with in whole or in part without prior consent of the CBI. Product code: CCT_015 promoting business-led policy solutions to realise carbon savings showcasing business opportunities for green growth leading by example on corporate commitments to manage carbon footprint monitoring progress by government and business in realising the UK s carbon targets influencing a post-2012 international climate change agreement. change
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