Christian Arno

Sustainability initiatives: bold ideas to ignite an employee-driven eco-movement

6 min Read
Three hikers walking along a footpath in a meadow

Change, in business terms, is often synonymous with extra effort. But, when it comes to sustainability initiatives, part of Pawprint’s mission is to turn that effort into ease.

‘Where do we begin?’ ‘We don’t have the money!’ ‘What’s the end goal?’, I hear you cry.

Well, let me answer these legitimate laments in reverse order; the ultimate goal is to achieve Net Zero by 2050, sooner if possible. For businesses without a massive budget for such transitions (do remember that operational efficiencies will offset the upfront costs of some investments), employees are a key piece of the puzzle. A green culture can transform a business a lot faster than siloed activity. Sustainability initiatives that educate and motivate employees to get behind a low carbon mentality, therefore, hold the power to affect big change in a business. And, as a bonus, they don’t even have to cost the earth… Pun intended.

Below I have outlined 7 ideas to help fire up employees and create a workplace green machine. So, in answer to where do we begin? Begin here.

Ban eco-bashing and make eco-activities fun

Make the conversation around sustainability inspiring and inclusive; company policies and sustainability initiatives should recognise that everyone is on different parts of the path and make sure there’s room for everyone.

They should also be engaging. Changing a habit isn’t easy, and even less so when it’s a chore or makes you feel bad. Injecting some fun into your business’ low carbon transformation will ramp up engagement and accelerate your journey to Net-Zero.

Looking for ways to do this? Pawprint for Business is a digital tool designed for this exact purpose; to engage employees through education and motivation to fight climate change. You heard it here first.

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Greener holidays

Incentivise your employees to travel by bus, ferry, train, bike or foot rather than plane by gifting them a couple of extra days of holiday if they can prove they are choosing the longer, but greener, way to travel on their time off. Check out Climate Perks for more information.

Initiate the addition of a Purpose Page on your website

This initiative will force you to think about what sustainability means to your company. I’d recommend getting input from all employees so that your statement reflects the sentiment of the company as a whole and makes everyone feel involved.

This is also a simple way to show your customers and stakeholders that you’re aware of your business’ responsibility to support the low carbon revolution. If you need inspiration, Ben & Jerry’s does it very well, seamlessly connecting urgent global action with their unique tone of voice and brand mission.

Awareness away days

Instead of awkward team-building exercises, why not implement a tree planting day or ocean plastic pick-up? When the time comes, everyone is going to be so ready to feel the wind in their hair and breathe in the wilds—team bonding that’s also doing something for the planet: tick, tick.

Start an eco-themed newsletter

Generated by employee suggestions, an internal email roundup is a great way to share podcasts, TedTalks, documentaries, veggie recipes, outdoor activities and more to encourage environmental education and fuel employees’ individual eco journeys. Of course, it would also update employees on any wider company sustainability initiatives.

Reward doing good with doing good

First off, switch any and all gifts/incentives to ones that are sustainable. For example:

  • Tickets to digital festival Somewhere Else
  • A voucher to holiday in (luxury) nature with Canopy & Stars
  • Money to spend at an organic food store

Then, start thinking one step further: how can you incentivise green behaviour to accelerate your journey to Net Zero? If you were to use Pawprint for Business, for example, you could create a group challenge that encourages environmental action, and incentivise employees to get involved by offering the winner one of the aforementioned green gifts!

Pensions for the planet

Studies by Share Action suggest the lion's share of pension pots flow towards oil and gas companies. Take action by following Make My Money Matters’ 3-step advice for businesses:

  1. Make sure your pension investments align with your company’s mission and values.
  2. Empower employees by engaging them in a dialogue about where their pension money is going. Encourage them to contact their provider asking them to commit to Net Zero by 2050.
  3. Put pressure on your pension fund to lead on responsible investment. Ask them how they plan to achieve Net Zero, how they plan to exert their influence to encourage companies to be better and how they will increase their positive impact.

Now is the time to align Covid recovery plans with pathways to Net-Zero. So, as we start trickling back into the workplace this year, let’s make sure we say no to business as usual and make positive changes for people and the planet instead.

Thinking about Pawprint for Business?

From evidence that sustainability is an existential issue for businesses, to how Pawprint delivers 360° board value, we’ve got one helluva business proposition for you.

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