Sustainability programmes that actively engage employees put a stamp on the employer’s brand
Companies used to schedule their annual community service days more out of a sense of obligation than social responsibility, letting their employees put in a day or half a day to volunteer at soup kitchens or pick up trash on a beach.
Then executives discovered that employee engagement and sustainability projects brought other benefits: they save money and generate revenue; employees like them; they create positive impressions of the company; and they help with morale, retention and recruitment. Sustainability programmes took shape and took hold, and by all measures of the triple bottom line – financial, social and environmental – they are paying off for firms that invest in them.
“Since the mid-1990s, it has been people, planet, profits,” says Andy Savitz, founder of Sustainable Business Strategies, a Boston-based sustainability consulting firm, and the author of two books on the triple bottom line. Originally, the profitability argument bolstered sustainability programmes because companies enjoyed savings from reducing waste and increasing efficiency, but now the “people” benefits are starting to garner even more attention. “It’s a golden triangle, it shows a connection,” Savitz says of activities that involve employees.
“When people are involved or engaged, they also become more enthusiastic about being at the...