As organisations respond to increasing scrutiny from investors, regulators and customers by making commitments to stretching environmental sustainability goals, it will be the businesses who take their employees with them that will actually deliver on their environmental promises to the world.
2030, 2040, 2050 targets may seem a long way off, but shifting the mindset and behaviours of thousands of leaders and employees has to start now if carbon neutrality and environmental sustainability goals are going to be met.
What we know anecdotally is that for many businesses ‘environmental sustainability’ is a phrase that only has real meaning to the environmental and strategic specialists. The challenge lies in helping everyone understand what it means for them in their day to day work. Too often the conversation is only happening within a technical or very senior audience while the organisation wide message is focussed on surface scratching tasks such as recycling, reusable cups or car sharing.
For organisations to live up to their carbon neutral promises and really prosper from a circular economy the conversation has to go far deeper, it has to involve and engage everyone in the business. Environmental sustainability needs to permeate every task, every decision, every investment – from the design of new products, to managing supply chain, to building and maintaining facilities, to the way people meet and work together. Environment must sit alongside quality, productivity and safety in ‘the way that we do things around here’.
For many organisations that will require a huge cultural shift. One that can only happen by enabling employees at every level to understand what sustainability really means for their business and for them.
We are having more and more conversations with clients about this challenge and we are really interested to find out how other businesses are tackling it too. We would love to hear your organisation’s experience of the environmental sustainability engagement challenge.