The Greenprint discussion: multi-industry perspectives on climate employee engagement in 2023 and beyond.

At lunchtime on the 1st of February, Do Nation hosted an engaging conversation on climate employee engagement trends in 2023, using data points from the Greenprint report.

The discussion provided the audience with insight on climate and employee engagement from the various industries and sectors of the panellists.

The conversation was moderated by Flo Parker, a coach and ex-partnerships manager at Futurelearn; and involved Julia Chalmers, head of sustainability at SSE; Nicky Browning B Corp and talent manager at Graze; Paul Lewis, CEO and founder at Seismic; as well as Do Nation’s founder and CEO, Hermione Taylor.

Below we summarise the illuminating points made during the discussion. If you like, you can watch the full recording.

On whether the cost of living crisis implies that employers will have an upper hand in the job market

  • Contrary to what might be assumed, hiring in the energy industry is competitive and challenging.
  • While the cost of living crisis is the biggest concern for adults in the UK, climate change is the second biggest factor and will also influence job hunting considerations.
  • The deciding factor between organisations who are able to hire and retain top talent will be their sense of purpose, and how well this is communicated.
  • Results from a survey, 6 months into employment at SSE, showed one in two recruits are attracted to the company because of its Net Zero ambition.

On the dynamics of climate employee engagement and employee engagement more broadly, how should companies approach both

  • Employee engagement is about what moves employees, and there is greater awareness and evidence now that people are passionate about the environment.
  • Most organisations think of climate change from the perspective of doing less bad, while the social perspective of climate action is about doing more good. Companies that are able to combine both through simple actions such as encouraging biking or carpooling to work will stand out. 
  • It’s important for engagement initiatives to be as inclusive as possible, including making space for people who are less climate confident, public speaking shy or early on in their careers. This also helps to ensure you aren’t preaching to the converted.

On how much the trend of climate quitting could impact their respective industries and what organisations could do to retain employees 

  • Helping everyone, especially those in less climate direct roles, understand how their roles are contributing to, and could be impacted by sustainability strategy.
  • Organisations need to listen, measure and be responsive to their employees, ensuring employee sentiment is mixed with real-world data. 
  • Converting business models to one that balances people, planet and profit is a great way to guard against climate quitting. B Corporation certification is a great way to do that.
  • The B corp community in the UK is rapidly growing, surpassing the 1000 company mark in September 2022.

On the relationship between climate proficiency and business performance, what impact will this have in 5 years

  • The relationship is more fundamental than between climate proficiency and business performance, it is between climate proficiency and survival. Sustainability is as inevitable to businesses as the tech revolution was.
  • Transparency is key. In the energy industry, there is a lot of innovation right now and as a result nervousness. The technicality of the innovation makes it a bit challenging to be transparent, but organisations must find ways to bring their people along. 
  • The importance of climate education for building a climate proficient workforce cannot be overestimated.
  • Changing to greener packaging at Graze has shown that sustainable decisions are often also more efficient and cost effective.

Unanswered questions from the Greenprint panel discussion

Are there any resources or tools out there that could help different departments understand their impacts within their roles or departments?

Within the Do Nation platform, organisations can run competitions between teams, departments or geographical offices. Carbon water and waste savings are calculated in real time for each team, and displayed on a leaderboard which sits within the organisation’s hub within the platform, as the programme progresses. 

What are the panellists’ thoughts on green teams/sustainability teams usually being volunteer roles – should there be financial support/recognition for those stepping up? Most people I work with have to take on pushing the Sustainability agenda in addition to their ‘proper jobs’ and can end up demoralised and burnt out? 

The beauty of individual climate action platforms like Do Nation is that they are designed to involve the entire organisation in environmental action. One of the tips of the Greenprint report is to delegate and make room for others to champion the cause. Ideally, this should lead to greater buy-in from management to build a sound ESG strategy. 

Organisations that confine sustainability thinking and action to unsupported teams, or unrecognised volunteers, are not listening to internal or external data on the importance of sustainability for the future. They will struggle to survive.

Further reading

Answers to the final panel question, and 8 takeaway tips for people looking to refresh engagement for 2023, read this LinkedIn article

Finally, you can:

What is Do Nation?

We believe that motivated and informed people are the key to unblocking progress on sustainability and net zero, now.

Our mission is to bring communities together to galvanise millions of people take meaningful action on climate change.

How we do it We use behaviour science + game design to motivate employees to pledge everyday actions that make a lasting difference, while upskilling them for work in a green economy.

Hundreds of organisation use Do Nation’s pledge programme to engage employees in organisational sustainability and ESG strategies and goals.

Our long-term behaviour change pledge programmes run for 6 months to 3 years and are proven to reduce carbon, water and waste whilst increasing employee pride, fitness and wellbeing.

Find out more >

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