Sustainable practices are becoming increasingly important in today’s rapidly changing world, and they are no longer a buzzword, but a necessity. Organizations should be proactive in implementing them in light of increasing environmental awareness and its impact on society. Organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of equipping their employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute to corporate sustainability.
‘According to Forbes, 90% of business leaders think sustainability is critical, yet only 60% of organizations have a sustainability strategy, while a Deloitte study reported that only 57% of organizations provide employees with climate change/climate action training’.
It is becoming increasingly important to many employees, especially those from younger generations, to work for an organization that is socially and environmentally responsible. By aligning organizational values with employee values, ESG principles can make a company more attractive to prospective employees and contribute to employee retention. Additionally, training on sustainability ensures that sustainable development becomes a process deeply embedded in an organization’s culture when all employees are trained in it. Further, Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) rating agencies and reporting frameworks use training as a measure of ESG effectiveness. Organizations with strong ESG performance have been shown to have better long-term financial performance. By training employees to incorporate ESG considerations into their decision-making processes, organizations can contribute to sustainable financial success.
Employee training can be conducted in a number of ways to help organizations make the transition to a greener economy. The most common approach is to offer them courses and programs about energy efficiency, waste reduction, and sustainable materials management. In addition to e-learning, workshops, and on-the-job training, such programs can be delivered through various channels. To educate employees on sustainability best practices, companies can also organize webinars or invite external speakers.
Creating sustainability-focused job roles or teams within the organization is another effective way of promoting green upskilling. In these roles, sustainability initiatives can be identified and implemented across the organization, which can help drive culture change and embed sustainable practices throughout the company. A green team or network of sustainability champions can also help engage employees and build a culture of sustainability within an organization. Furthermore, studies have shown that sustainability practices like energy conservation increase employee retention, productivity, and engagement.
The challenge for companies is to operationalize sustainability goals, even when their employees, including their leaders, care about sustainability. Unfortunately, not enough companies have yet figured out how to link their employees’ values and support for sustainability with their daily work and company operations. It’s not the why that’s the problem, but the how of embedding sustainability.
The implementation of collaborative efforts to achieve shared long-term goals requires sustainability awareness and expertise across the organization and supply chain. Ultimately, staying up to date with sustainability trends and committing to continuous improvement requires flexibility and openness to change and embedding ESG principles in employee training not only aligns businesses with societal expectations and regulatory trends but also fosters a culture of responsibility, innovation, and long-term success.