How to Inspire Your Employees to Reduce Their Carbon FootprintAugust 17, 2022
As the effects of climate change become more and more apparent, companies are increasingly looking for ways to “go green” and reduce their carbon footprint.
But instituting corporate-wide sustainability initiatives can be difficult, especially if your employees aren’t on board. In this article, we’ll break down why businesses should care about reducing their carbon footprint, and offer some tips on how to inspire employees to do their part.
What are the benefits of reducing carbon footprint for businesses?
The business case for going green is strong. In addition to the moral imperative to address climate change, there are significant financial incentives for businesses to reduce their energy consumption and move towards sustainable practices. For example, decreasing your company’s reliance on energy from fossil fuels can help to insulate you from volatile energy prices, and investing in energy-efficient technologies can lead to significant long-term cost savings.
Moreover, sustainable businesses are often seen as more attractive to consumers and investors, and may even enjoy a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Green issues are also becoming increasingly important to employees, suggesting that sustainability will be a key factor in attracting top talent and increasing employee engagement going forward. IBM’s Institute for Business Value conducted a global survey that found that 71% of employees and job seekers consider sustainable employers to be more appealing. And nearly half of those surveyed said they would accept a lower salary to work for an organization with a genuine commitment to protecting the planet.
These trends are only going to continue as the reality of climate change becomes impossible to ignore. Of course, simply implementing energy-saving measures or investing in renewable energy is not enough to “go green.” To truly reduce your company’s carbon footprint, you need the buy-in and cooperation of your employees. After all, they are the ones who will be carrying out your sustainability initiatives on a day-to-day basis.
3 Strategies to inspire employees to go green
Here are some strategies you can use to encourage your employees to reduce their carbon footprint:
Strategy #1 Encourage sustainable commute
The transportation sector contributes heavily to climate change, accounting for 27% of all greenhouse gas emissions, the most of any category. This means that one of the most impactful things your employees can do to reduce their carbon footprint is to choose sustainable commute options:
- To begin with, urge your employees to ditch their cars in favor of more sustainable commute options, like public transportation, biking, or carpooling.
- If you have the ability, offer incentives for eco-friendly commutes like free or reduced parking for electric vehicles or a stipend for those who use public transportation.
- Reinforce the value of making a car journey as green as possible, such as by carpooling.
Not only will these practices reduce your company’s carbon footprint, but they will also save your employees money on gas and car maintenance.
Strategy #2 Educate your employees on the impact of their actions
Many of your employees probably don’t realize how much their daily habits contribute to climate change. But if you educate them about the impact of their actions, they may be more likely to make changes. Here are a few ways to educate your employees about saving energy:
- Send out monthly emails with tips on conserving energy at home and work.
- Post energy-saving tips in common areas around the office.
- Give a presentation on energy conservation at an all-company meeting.
Also encourage your employees to reduce energy consumption by implementing simple changes, like turning off lights and computers when they’re not in use, using smart power strips to conserve electricity, and setting thermostats to energy-saving temperatures.
Strategy #3 Use digital tools and tech to reduce wastage in the workspace
In addition to changing their daily habits, your employees can also reduce the carbon footprint of their work by using digital tools to cut back on waste all the while increasing efficiency. For example:
- Consider using video conferencing software like Zoom or Google Meet for meetings, rather than making employees or clients travel long distances.
- Use work management apps like Wrike or Monday to keep track of tasks and deadlines and create paperless workflows.
- Encourage employees to use e-signatures tools whenever possible, rather than printing out documents to sign them.
There are also high-level applications of technology in reducing waste. Take the manufacturing industry, for instance. Manufacturing processes for both consumer and industrial goods have never been fine-tuned to reduce wastefulness. In other words, companies have always been willing to accept some amount of waste in order to produce items more cheaply on a larger scale.
As a result, engineers who are unwilling to compromise on quality often add extra raw materials, rather than underestimating what is required. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Machine learning can be used to predict exactly how much raw material is needed for each product, eliminating wastefulness in the manufacturing process. This tech has the ability to quickly learn the complicated production process of an item across. That way, it can analyze for ways to produce the same item with less waste.
To prevent the devastating effects of climate change and minimize their carbon footprint, businesses need all hands on deck – including those of their employees. By taking the steps outlined above, you can help ensure that your employees are motivated and engaged in your company’s sustainability efforts.