How Sustainability Can Boost Your Company’s Culture

I probably don’t need to convince you that the bottom line of green is black.

But in case you do need convincing, here are just a few notable facts:

  1. $8 billion. In a recent Pure Strategies survey, that’s how much 153 respondents reported earning from their sustainability efforts.

  2. Nearly 50%. That’s how much of Unilever’s growth in 2015 came from its sustainable brands, which grew 30% faster than the rest of its business.

  3. $375 million. Through its sustainability initiatives, that’s how much PepsiCo reported saving between 2010 and 2015.

Big players are saving real dollars by investing in sustainability, from Google to Kohl’s to Target.

How things have changed! It wasn’t that long ago that you might have laughed at me if I’d told you any of this.

Now, it’s becoming standard fare, and stats like these are a dime a dozen. It pays for your company to be sustainable. Not only does it save money in a direct way, but it also attracts customers and investors, differentiates a company, and helps you recruit and retain the best talent.

You can do even more

Okay, so you’re convinced. Maybe you already have some sustainability initiatives in place at your company.

But what if you’d like to take it to the next level? Or what if you’re a small company without a sustainability team?

The good news is that it’s fairly easy for companies of any size to make a big impact by taking some simple steps. Whether your company is large or small, engaging your employees will give you a lot of bang for your buck.

That’s because by engaging your employees, you’ll not only make a bigger impact but also enhance your company’s culture and increase employee satisfaction.

The culture component

This isn’t just wishful thinking. Research firm GlobeScan has identified a major global trend in the rise of “aspirationals,” who yearn for purpose. Today’s workers, like today’s consumers, care a great deal about purpose, and they also care about mission and work-life balance.

In a world where workers are increasingly purpose-driven, a company that can provide a sense of purpose becomes an attractive place to work. And a company lacking this element is at a serious disadvantage.

Where does sustainability fit into this? It turns out it has a big impact on company culture.

Some surprising results came out of a study on HR’s role in sustainability, which asked respondents to identify the benefits of sustainability initiatives at their company. Improved employee morale ranked as the top benefit -- above cost savings, public image, and all the rest. Increased employee loyalty was also high on the list.

This is borne out by other studies that found a strong correlation between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and employee engagement, and a 25-30% reduction in annual turnover in companies with strong CSR. (While sustainability is not the same as CSR, it’s an important component of CSR.)

Involving your employees

So, what can you do to step up your company’s sustainability initiatives, while also engaging your employees?

It turns out to be much easier than you’d think. As a business, you can take some simple steps that will help you achieve both these goals -- and will lead to a better company culture.

Beyond boosting your workplace’s energy efficiency and sourcing sustainable supplies, you can help your employees get involved. In doing this, you’ll have a far greater impact than you would if you focused on just the workplace.

A great first step is to simply tell employees about any sustainability initiatives already in place. When I worked at Adobe, I was surprised to learn about the many ways the company was already greening the workplace. I had to search for this information, but when I found it, I felt a renewed pride to work for a company that was doing so much. Don’t hide this from your employees!

Take it even further. Ask your employees for their input. At Adobe, plastic water bottles were replaced with reusable bottles and glasses because of pressure from employees. That made us feel that the company listened to our concerns, and that we were part of the solution.

An easy way to increase your impact

These are important first steps. But you can do much more -- even if you have just a few employees. You can help them make their home life more sustainable, too. Your employees will feel more valued, and you’ll show them that your commitment to sustainability goes beyond the office. Plus, your impact will be that much bigger.

The truth is, each one of us -- every company, and every individual -- has the power to make a big impact with small sustainable actions.

Take LEDs. If you think a small bulb won’t make a difference, consider this: Thanks to LEDs, California has lowered its energy use by 10%, even as its population has increased.

That may have you thinking that you can do a lot by switching to LEDs at the office. Now imagine how much bigger your impact will be if you can get some of your employees to switch in their homes, too. Now add solar power, clean power plans, electric cars…. We’re talking a significant impact.

Including the “people” in your triple bottom line

Whether your company is large or small, a simple way to help employees do all this is with a program like the MyDomino energy savings concierge service. With this perk, employees have access to a personal concierge who can help them take actions to reduce their carbon footprint and save money, whether they rent or own their home. Maybe just a few people at your company can go solar -- but even renters can switch to clean wind energy, upgrade to LED bulbs, and take many more simple actions.

The program also engages employees at the office, with an online platform where they can log actions and compete with co-workers to lower their carbon footprint -- plus onsite brown bag sessions, webinars, newsletters that nudge them to take action, and product reviews. This keeps people engaged in the program and can provide a big boost to company culture.

Sustainabilist is now offering this innovative package in its new TriplerHR program. It’s a great way to ensure you’re not leaving out the “people” in your triple bottom line, whether you’re established or a startup. This comprehensive program shows your employees that you value them with unique benefits, professional development opportunities, and support for volunteerism.

A recipe for success

 

Whether you choose to seek help engaging your team in green practices or decide to implement some of your own, the data shows you’re likely to be rewarded for your actions not just in improved morale, but in your bottom line as well.

A company that involves its employees in its own sustainability efforts, and one that even helps them live more sustainably, goes beyond greening the workplace to make a real impact. It gives employees the satisfaction of being part of a bigger effort. They can feel proud to work for a company that demonstrates its values in this way.

That’s a recipe for a company culture that will stand out.