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How to Build a Culture of Sustainability in Your Organization

Organizational culture is a crucial ingredient in the success of corporate environmental initiatives

Your organization’s sustainability goals can be greatly affected by one significant factor: your company culture. An article published on Springer Link emphasized that organizational culture is a crucial ingredient in the success of corporate environmental initiatives and in achieving corporate sustainability. The culture of a workplace can affect everyone’s orientation, performance, procedures, and attitudes toward changes and innovation.

Sustainability practices can be quite a big change for many employees. As such, businesses need to transform their culture to shift people’s orientations, behaviors, and beliefs about sustainability. Here’s how you can start building a culture of sustainability in your organization:

Develop sustainability projects that align with the company’s goals

There are plenty of sustainability initiatives that organizations can partake in. However, the workforce will be more open and active in the sustainability culture, especially if there are projects relevant to the company’s current goals.

Stephen Keys, the sustainability officer at IFS, recognizes that sustainability projects can be complex, which is why he recommends leveraging data to figure out how your organization can seamlessly integrate sustainability into the business strategy or operations.

However, Keys points out that a manager should be appointed to look into this data and assess how sustainability can be applied to the organization’s practices. The project manager job description on LHH outlines that project managers can help in this initiative by producing reports about company metrics and making data-based decisions on how to run a project. Through their competencies, they can develop relevant sustainability projects based on data and assess which tasks will be relevant to the roles and competencies of each employee.

Involve the senior management in the workplace transformation

It can be difficult to get funding and support for sustainability projects, especially if the senior management is not involved in them. As such, it’s crucial to get the buy-in from senior management when it comes to these initiatives.

Miku Hirano, the CEO of Cinnamon, stated that leaders have a lot of influence within their communities, making them critical in spearheading the changes within their organization. Employees tend to follow in the footsteps of their leaders, which is why it’s critical that everyone will make an effort toward the sustainable and inclusive future of the organization.

Project managers will be critical in getting buy-in from senior managers because they can present data and reports that can emphasize the importance of sustainability initiatives within the organization. They can also delegate certain tasks to senior managers so employees can follow suit and become more involved with the sustainability culture.

Implement doable sustainable practices in the workplace

Some employees may still be resistant to sustainability initiatives, even when the projects are relevant to their roles in the company or the senior manager is involved. The changes may be overwhelming to these individuals, which is why you should consider giving them more doable tasks first.

Rather than subjecting them to intensive activities, you can change your staff’s orientation towards sustainability through simple practices that they can practice both at home and in the workplace. To illustrate, our article on the ‘4 Sustainable Practices for Better Waste Management’ shows that you can promote paperless processes to reduce waste in your workplace. Now that many tasks are done on devices, you can implement this protocol to boost employee involvement in the sustainability culture.

Track and report the progress of your sustainability efforts

There may also be some employees that are hesitant to join the sustainability culture because of the lack of transparency about green initiatives. Many companies tend to greenwash certain projects, which is why it’s critical for you to track and report the progress of your efforts.

To start, managers should set KPIs relevant to the company’s sustainability goals. These KPIs are important because they can show how these sustainability efforts can change the company as well as the environment. Managers then need to track how the company is able to meet the KPIs through sustainability initiatives, then discuss these results in meetings or even publish them on the company’s digital platforms. Through this transparency, employees can understand the company’s commitment to sustainability and become more motivated to join in the initiatives.

It takes a village to create a culture of sustainability within an organization. As such, you’ll need to tap the right employees so that the rest of the workforce will follow suit and do more sustainable practices.

Article written by:

I am a writer and reporter for the clean energy sector, I cover climate change issues, new clean technologies, sustainability and green cars. Danny Ovy

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