Help Employees Embrace Sustainability

Help Employees Embrace Sustainability

Encouraging employees to embrace sustainability practices is key for managers eager to adopt more sustainable business practices.
Jessica Kilcoyne October 31, 2011
Encouraging employees to embrace sustainability practices is key for managers eager to adopt more sustainable business practices. There are some simple practices like modeling expected behaviour, educating your team, and tracking and recognizing success that can prove helpful.

When Canadian Pacific, a logistics and shipping company, set out to reduce its bottled water use, for example,  it decided to raise the level of awareness around the consequences of bottle waste by using informal presentations and walkabouts so employees could see the physical evidence of the bottle waste. CP also made a conscious effort to link the impact of everyday actions at work and sustainability activities at home, and showed their appreciation for employees’ efforts by providing them with positive feedback as well as presenting regional awards at a yearly conference.

“You need to make a personal commitment,” says Grete Bridgewater, Director, Environmental Management Systems at CP. “[We got] individual employees to feel they can participate and make a difference, and see a connection much broader than one job and one task-to a greater community and a greater benefit.” Through their efforts, CP was able to reduce its bottled water consumption by 30 percent.

This case study is featured in NBS’s Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture executive report by Dr. Stephanie Bertels. Her work helps companies understand the range of activities, nearly 60 in all, they can use to build sustainability into their culture. Learn more about which practices you can implement to embed sustainability into your organization’s culture.

Additional Resources

Reports and Articles

NBS's Embedding Sustainability Working Group reveals four key lessons on how to successfully embed sustainability into your organizational culture.

Maya Fischhoff
Research Insight

A survey of supervisors in a multinational corporation finds only one factor is significant in shaping perceived support for corporate sustainability:...

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