Creating a long-term strategy that implements both ethical and environmentally friendly targets will help your organisation achieve a greener future. Ethical consumers and employees looking to live more sustainably want to get on board with this, so when it comes to your corporate sustainability, you should consider the following:
Sustainability is being about transparent and genuine about your impact on the environment, while shaping the future of your organisation. Creating a positive environment for sustainable behaviour change or improving is an important hurdle to overcome.
In an effort to limit the environmental damage of the climate emergency, governments around the world are creating carbon reduction initiatives and net zero policies that could affect organisations. Organisations, such as Oatly, have their carbon emission data and sustainability values readily available for consumers to see, thanks to development and feedback from staff at every level.
According to The Energy Research Partnership, the UK’s net zero target is at risk of being missed without substantial and sustainable change in corporate and public behaviour. A big part of addressing net zero will involve convincing people to adopt more sustainable behaviours and habits. The research suggests visible positive behaviours that can inspire consumers and digital tools to help accelerate the uptake of sustainable behaviours and smarter technologies.
Businesses, which are responsible for roughly 18% of the UK’s carbon emissions, need to identify solutions that can significantly reduce the environmental impacts of their office and fleet operations, as well as inspire sustainable behaviour change in their workforce. These changes can help the wider business achieve sustainability targets in addition to increasing energy efficiency in employee homes. Household energy use currently accounts for around 27% of the UK’s carbon emissions, which will also need to be reduced to meet net zero.
What does corporate sustainability have to do with behaviour change?
Developing an effective corporate sustainability strategy might sound like a daunting process, especially with all the moving parts, carbon measurements, constant revision, stakeholder engagement and achievable yet ambitious targets. But it’s important to get it right.
Getting your staff on board with your sustainability goals should be a priority and a core part of your strategy. Driving behavioural change from within the organisation may increase employee retention rate and help develop new energy efficiency initiatives.
It’s not just the UK’s 2050 net zero target you should be thinking about. The sooner you can achieve net zero for your company, the better, especially with new green policies from governments becoming more common.
Improving the energy efficiency of your organisation should open the way to better inform stakeholders and customers of your environmental goals to reduce carbon emissions and increase efficiency.
Corporate sustainability shouldn’t just stay in its own tick box, it should be part of everything your organisation does. You need to be changing your organisation’s behaviour at all levels, enabling your employees to lead more sustainable lifestyles – both inside and outside of work – to really get them thinking about the larger picture. They could influence future policies, product development and infrastructure to support your organisation’s role in the green recovery.
Creating a culture of sustainable behaviour may also help influence ethical consumers looking for products or services. Major consumer brands like Unilever are now looking into carbon footprint labels for all 70,000 of its products as consumers look for more sustainable options. Carbon footprint labelling ultimately shows consumers how many greenhouse gases were emitted during the production of the product, from sourcing raw materials to manufacturing, transporting to stores and end of life.
Cracking down on emissions and being transparent in your communications about your commitment to sustainability could positively influence the rate of ethical purchases even further.
Best ways to spark behaviour change
Different messages will resonate with different people, but once you have your organisation’s sustainability strategy outlined, you should get employees involved. Some great ways to do this involve promoting energy efficiency to get them thinking about their own work practices; creating sustainable policies such as flexible working to reduce long commutes; and promoting energy efficiency through your internal communications and training. You could also:
- Set up a sustainability group or energy champion to motivate staff to be more energy efficient and bolster your organisation’s sustainability credentials.
- Introduce your sustainability goals through workshops or meetings that focus on the wider economic and personal benefits of reducing carbon emissions.
- Get your teams involved in themed national causes such as Earth Hour or Earth Day and provide them with the resources and prompts they need to form sustainable habits.
According to Healthline, it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for someone to form a new habit, including a sustainable one. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, since some habits are easier to form than others for different people. But as long as you’re supporting your employees with sustainability, they’re more likely to achieve a positive outcome.
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