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Engaging Employees On Sustainability: 25 Innovative Approaches

Date: 03 October 2012

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30 pages, 25 figures

Executive Summary

The role of employee engagement in corporate sustainability strategies is essential. From minimizing waste to stimulating innovation, executives rely on a wide array of approaches to change behaviour in the pursuit of greater sustainability. But lasting behaviour change is difficult to achieve. This report shows Chief Sustainability Officers (CSO), heads of human resources and CSR Directors, 25 approaches used to engage staff on sustainability. The research, based on interviews with firms with leading sustainability strategies, finds that the approaches cover strategy setting, communications, facilitation of change and employee motivation. Verdantix analysed each approach in a consistent framework to allow executives to identify the essence of each approach, and to help executives adapt them to their own organizations.


Research Hones In On Innovative Approaches Rather Than Whole Programmes
Four Categories Of Employee Engagement Approaches
CSOs Need To Adapt These Approaches To Suit Their Organizations



Figure 1. Strategy: Segmentation Of Employees To Target Activities
Figure 2. Strategy: Continuous Targeting To Drive Engagement
Figure 3. Strategy: Creating A Community Of Practice For Business Manager Engagement
Figure 4. Strategy: Business-As-Usual Approach To Sustainability
Figure 5. Communications: Programmes That Prompt Voluntary Actions
Figure 6. Communications: Employee Engagement To Enhance Energy Efficiency Service
Figure 7. Communications: Smartphone-Prompted Engagement
Figure 8. Communications: Conversation Framing
Figure 9. Communications: Internally Branded Communication Campaigns
Figure 10. Communications: Green Teams
Figure 11. Communications: Beyond Green Teams: Dedicated Sustainability Champions
Figure 12. Facilitation: Online Carpooling
Figure 13. Facilitation: Donations Aggregators
Figure 14. Facilitation: Volunteering As Part Of Employee Development
Figure 15. Facilitation: Volunteering To Experience Conservation First Hand
Figure 16. Facilitation: Corporate Foundations To Enable Employee Community Work
Figure 17. Facilitation: Funding Employee-Led Projects
Figure 18. Employee Motivation: Personal Carbon Plans
Figure 19. Employee Motivation: Virtual Office Tool Encourages Pledging
Figure 20. Employee Motivation: Green Impact Awards For Universities
Figure 21. Employee Motivation: Platforms To Support Sustainability Performance
Figure 22. Employee Motivation: Awareness Raising Sustainability Games
Figure 23. Employee Motivation: Devolved Electricity Budgets
Figure 24. Employee Motivation: Environmental Frequent Flyer Miles
Figure 25. Employee Motivation: Encouraging Employees To Walk To Work


Accenture, Alco, Amazon, American Airlines, American Express, Amgen, AT&T, Aviva, BAE Systems, BDO, Boots, BskyB, BT Group, CA Technologies, California State Insurance Fund, Cambridge University, Camden Council, Cisco, CloudApps, Cognizant, CSE, Dell, Design Council, Duke Energy, Earthshare, Earthwatch Insititute, Ecova, Ernst & Young, Ford, Global Action Plan, Green Mountain Energy, Heathrow Airport, Home Depot, HP, HSBC, International Monetary Fund, IBM, Infosys, Intel, InterfaceFLOR, JP Morgan Chase Company, Kings College London, Lend Lease, Liftshare.com, Living Streets, Lloyds TSB, Macy’s, Mars, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Electric UK, National Grid, NBC, Newcastle University, NHS Trust, Norfolk County Council, Norland Managed Services, Novo Nordisk, Openreach, Oxford City Council, Patagonia, Red Lion Hotels, Saatchi & Saatchi, SAB Miller, Salesforce.com, Sanctuary Group, SAP, Scottish Power, Serco, Shari’s Restaurants, Shell, Sodexo North America, SSE, The Co-Operative Group, The World Bank, The New York Times Company, Thomson Reuters, Toyota, University Of Aberdeen, University Of Bath, University Of East Anglia, University Of Exeter, Walmart, Whitbread, Wigan Council, WSP, ZapCarbon