How to Encourage Employee-led Eco-projects

How to Encourage Employee-Led Eco-Projects

Lauren Rakowski July 16, 2010
Employees working for firms with environmental policies are most likely to implement eco-initiatives. To encourage employee eco-initiatives, managers can adopt a written environmental policy and communicate it to employees. Managers can also listen to employee suggestions, encourage partnerships with other departments, and motivate employees by giving rewards for achieving goals.


Eco-initiatives are actions taken by employees to improve the company's environmental performance. These may include recycling, producing a less energy-intensive product or replacing a product with a service.  Even though eco-initiatives and other innovations require similar support and encouragement, eco-initiatives receive less attention. This research demonstrates the need to engage employees in environmental activities.


Employees are more likely to develop and implement eco-initiatives when:

Implications for Managers

To encourage employee eco-initiatives, managers can: 

Implications for Researchers

Future surveys should control for a social desirability bias for eco-initiatives, since companies chosen for this study were environmentally proactive. Future research could explore whether managers' personal values affect employee eco-initiatives, and how employee capacity and motivation influence the promotion of eco-initiatives.


This study developed a logic model to determine which environmental policy factors and management support behaviours were positively related to employee eco-initiatives. Researchers conducted interviews with 353 mid- and low-level employees at 6 environmentally proactive companies in Europe. Companies were from the chemical, entertainment, manufacturing, medical devices, oil, and retail sectors.
Ramus, Catherine, & Steger, Ulrich. (2000). The Roles of Supervisory Support Behaviours and Environmental Policy in Employee `Ecoinitiatives' at Leading-Edge European Companies. Academy of Management Journal, 43(4): 605-626. 

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