In a time of rapid climate change, it’s more important than ever to look at our impact on the environment. Greener workplaces contribute to a more sustainable future—and they benefit your employees and business. As an HR professional, you can play a key role in fostering an environmentally conscious workplace.
Across Canada, we’re seeing record high temperatures, wildfires, droughts, and floods. Canada is warming twice as fast as the global average. Some of Canada’s largest businesses are now stepping up to the plate and making a commitment to sustainability. In 2020, Maple Leaf Foods, CN, and Celestica formed a coalition of companies committed to reducing carbon emissions, setting environmental targets, and tracking their impact on the climate.
Whatever the size of your business, there are actions that every organization can take to help, from switching to more efficient heating to training employees on handling hazardous chemicals in the workplace.
The most obvious benefit of making eco-conscious changes to your workplace is creating a positive environmental impact. But beyond sustainability, creating a greener workplace is also a good business strategy. Here are some of the many benefits that come with promoting sustainability in your organization.
Create a healthier work environment
A greener workplace can improve the physical and mental wellbeing of your employees. Simple changes such as switching to non-toxic or natural office cleaning products can eliminate harmful chemicals that may lead to long-term health issues. Even literally going green by adding plants to your workplace can increase happiness and productivity. By adopting green initiatives, your organization is showing that you value and prioritize sustainability. When an employee feels aligned with their company’s values, it can help improve employee engagement.
Meet the demands of consumers
The habits, attitudes, and preferences of consumers are shifting—and being environmentally conscious can give you a competitive advantage. Consumers’ spending habits reflect a preference for green companies. A PwC consumer insights survey found that Canadians are willing to pay more for local, organic, and ethically or sustainably produced products. The same survey found that over 30% of Canadians were willing to pay a premium for brands known for sustainability practices. Going green can give your brand a boost and attract more customers.
Save on operating costs
Green initiatives are often also more cost-effective. Actions like maximizing natural light in office spaces or installing motion sensors that turn the lights off when no one is in the area can lead to big energy savings. Many of these initiatives have a widespread effect on operating costs. For example, going paperless obviously saves money on paper, but it also reduces costs on energy bills, distribution, and storage.
Attract and retain top talent
If you want to hold on to your high-performing employees and attract top talent, going green can make a big difference. Just as consumers’ preferences are shifting, so are the demands of job seekers. A 2021 global survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value found that 71% of employees and employment seekers find environmentally sustainable companies more attractive and are more likely to apply for and accept jobs with such organizations. Nearly half of those surveyed said they would even accept a lower salary to work at an environmentally and socially responsible organization. Employees have spoken: when a company is sustainable, it stands out.
Strategies to help HR leaders go green
Fostering and facilitating green initiatives helps build a sustainable future for both our environment and your business. As an HR practitioner, you can have a big influence on an organizational and cultural level. So how can you help your workplace go green? Our experts have put together a guide to help you get started! Download our FREE Guide to Creating a Greener Workspace for strategies to help lead a green transformation at your organization.