Because sustainability impacts occur in the hands of decision makers and front-line employees across an organization, a successful approach to sustainability requires that managing or acting sustainably be a job function for every employee, every day. This means everyone is responsible and no one is exempt from managing and acting with sustainability in mind.
When I was a director of a financial institution in the 1990s, we struggled in vain to get top executives to pay attention to the Board’s sustainability priorities. To no avail. Then we stumbled upon the idea of rewarding the CEO for long-term sustainability performance. The result? We saw a dramatic improvement in the company’s sustainability performance from then on (financial performance, too!). Once we realized the impact of this simple measure, the board quickly embedded the principle in its compensation philosophy, which, in turn, spread the concept throughout the management ranks.Investor scrutiny of “pay for breathing” practices shows results
What would happen if your company ceased to exist? Would journalists write headlines heralding your past achievements, or would their stories simply add you to a list of bygones? Would analysts express disappointment or would they point to indicators that made your death predictable? Would employees wonder how it could have ended, or would they have known it was inevitable? Would customers mourn your passing, or would the demise of your brand go unnoticed?
In part one of our review of Andrew Savitz’s book Talent, Transformation, and the Triple Bottom Line, we explored why human resource managers should be involved in a brand’s sustainability initiatives. Now, we’ll look at how companies can leverage HR to achieve sustainable growth throughout the entire workforce lifecycle, starting from employee selection all the way to retirement.
Once considered strange bedfellows, sustainability and human resource management are being increasingly recognized as an ideal match. Andrew Savitz’s book Talent, Transformation, and the Triple Bottom Line: How Companies Can Leverage Human Resources to Achieve Sustainable Growth compellingly demonstrates why HR leaders are uniquely well-positioned to aid in sustainability efforts and why they need to be included in any brand’s successful transition to embedded sustainability. Here are a few of Savitz’s reasons why:
Less than a year ago at Sustainable Brands ‘13, leading brand innovators from around the world came together in San Diego for the seventh year to address some of their biggest sustainability challenges. These innovators realize that no brand is an island and many challenges they face are shared by their peers, competitors, suppliers and customers. In order to support shared learning and collaboration beyond the conference itself, members of the SB advisory board designed a new structure — the SB Collaboratory — to provide a forum for these professionals to come together to share experiences, ask questions, learn from each other and brainstorm a path forward.
Last year, I posted a blog on 2degrees about the Think Big program, and how we have helped people from across our business (Telefonica UK, O2 and partners) to get involved with Think Big, directly delivering sustainability benefits.
I love Rube Goldberg Machines — those inefficient systems, full of convoluted twists and turns that use chain reactions to complete simple tasks.In one of my favorite examples, a tipped milk bottle releases a sword, which cuts a rope that drops a guillotine, which releases a battering ram to swing a door that wields a grass sickle while disturbing a hawk, which drops a boot that stomps on the head of an octopus, whose tentacles squeeze an orange to produce a single glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. These cartoons can give us a good laugh, but to model a business in this gratuitously complicated way would be akin to planning to fail.
Last year, Campbell Soup was ranked by media and investment research company Corporate Knights as one of the world’s most sustainable companies, with key initiatives that reduced water consumption by 13 billion liters, cut 280,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and constructed a 24-hectare, 10 mega-watt solar field.But alongside saving and yielding resources, Campbell knows that creating a work environment that encourages innovation, rewards results and embodies its values is a key strategy for maximizing shareholder value.As a result, one of its targets is to achieve 100 percent employee engagement in CSR and sustainability by 2020.
Cross-Posted from Leadership.
Almost 100 percent of companies have a corporate citizenship budget today, up from just 81 percent in 2010, according to a new report from the Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College.The Profile of the Practice 2013 explores how the environmental, social and governance (ESG) dimensions of business — corporate citizenship — are managed in today’s business world, and how these practices have evolved since the last report in 2010. It is based on a survey of 231 companies that provided data on their corporate citizenship strategies, operational structures and business practices.
Recyclebank® — the company that rewards its members with discounts and deals for making more conscious daily actions — today announced the schools selected for its 2014 Green Schools Program. Each year, the program grants money to schools to bring to life unique projects that will lead to greater sustainability in their classroom and community.
One in four small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK consider sustainability one of their highest concerns for the coming year, according to a new survey by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking (LBCB).While sustainability is becoming an integral part of the business landscape, it has traditionally been much more difficult for smaller firms, who may lack the resources to make changes to company administration practices, LBCB says.Encouragingly, the survey found that three out of ten SMEs plan to invest more in sustainable business practices over the next five years, although another 42 percent said that spending on sustainability is likely to remain flat.
The Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) plant in Knoxville, Tenn., last week became the 20,000th LEED certification for a commercial project issued by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).As the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system, LEED guides the design, construction and operation of 10.5 billion square feet of commercial and institutional space worldwide. By using less energy, LEED-certified spaces save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.
Apple, Ford, HP and 10 other fortune-ranked companies recently received 100 percent ratings in the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) 2014 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) report, a national benchmark for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) workplace inclusion.Other fortune-ranked companies to receive perfect scores include Chevron, General Motors, GE, AT&T, Bank of America, McKesson, Verizon, JPMorgan Chase, IBM and Citigroup.
Cross-Posted from Marketing and Comms.
If the perception of your brand’s green efforts is falling short of reality, then it’s time to stop and re-examine all aspects of the social impact of your outreach. Gone are the days when consumers would buy “green” for green’s sake; they want to see for themselves how a brand is actually making a difference. And it’s in your best interest to inform and educate them.
Buying organic tomatoes may not be a big deal. They taste better and they’re better for both your health and the planet; enough reasons to justify paying a price premium. No wonder organic food is leading the growth of sustainable consumption.But it isn’t always that easy to make the more sustainable lifestyle choice. You may have found yourself feeling bad for using your car instead of public transportation. While staring at an organic cotton T-shirt, you may have wondered if you should buy it or go for the cheaper standard cotton version a couple racks away. It's often an uncomfortable struggle between collective and private benefits: the planet versus your wallet.
Nestlé has announced a commitment to create 20,000 positions for young people across Europe over the next three years.The Nestlé needs YOUth Initiative will offer jobs to 10,000 people under the age of 30 and create 10,000 apprentice positions and traineeships by 2016."Today, one in four young people in Europe does not have a job," said Laurent Freixe, Nestlé Executive Vice-President and Zone Director for Europe, speaking at the Nestlé needs YOUth launch event in Athens, Greece, where more than half of those under the age of 25 are unemployed.
Only one in five companies has fully integrated sustainability into business, according to the BSR/GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Survey 2013, which received responses from more than 700 corporate sustainability executives — the largest pool to date.In this year’s survey, respondents were asked for the first time to indicate the extent to which sustainability is integrated into the core of their business. Only 21 percent of respondents reported that their company is close to full integration. A majority say that their company is either about halfway to integration (51 percent), or is just getting started (22 percent).
Cross-Posted from Behavior Change.
Many organisations are grappling with the same question: How do we create an employee reward and recognition programme designed to deliver widely adopted and sustained pro-environmental behaviours?
There is no simple way to identify a leading company in sustainability. Given the proliferation of ratings, rankings, blogs and indices, there is no shortage of opinions, and often these are in direct conflict with one another. The methodologies used to calculate performance are often very opaque, or nonexistent. Even highly reputable organizations, based on a good core of data, often produce wildly divergent results from one another. And once the pundits get a hold of any ranking, they usually tear it to pieces, bringing their own criteria, opinions and biases to bear and further muddying the waters. While the debates are often fierce, no one can really agree on what sustainability itself really means.