Explain how sustainability connects to an employee's everyday experiences and work.
To what extent do you help employees to understand how sustainability applies to your organisation and their everyday work?
Ray Anderson, founder of Interface, tells a story about a revelatory meeting between a global engineering executive and a forklift driver at a carpet company. The story is a great example of what it looks like when employees are able to align their understanding of high-level corporate sustainability with the context of their day-to-day duties and responsibilities.
Kevin Wilhelm's book "Making Sustainability Stick" draws on his experiences working to make sustainability relevant to employees across 75 companies. The book offers a step-by-step approach that focuses on "how" companies can help make sustainability relevant to their employees. The book also offers a host of implementation checklists, resources and exercises at the end of each chapter.
The sustainability SWOT (sSWOT) is designed to help drive action and collaboration on environmental challenges by identifying real business risks and opportunities. It helps individuals engage and motivate colleagues - particularly those with limited knowledge of environmental issues or corporate sustainability. Most importantly, it can help identify new insights and communicate the importance of sustainability to senior decision-makers.
Drawing on the example of Unilever, authors Paul Polman and CB Bhattacharya discuss what happens when companies encourage and share sustainable ideas and solutions among employees. For example, workers inspired by Unilever’s sustainability slogan “small actions can make a big difference" were able to save €47,500 and 9.3 tonnes of paper by reducing the end seals of tea bags by 3 millimeters. The article also offers an in-depth explanation of eight important practices for engaging employees in the company’s sustainability journey.
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