The Business Case for Going Green


Reasons For Going Green

Potential costs savings, meeting business supply contracts, brand advantages, reaching green consumers and increasing sales revenue by introducing environmentally friendly products. In this article I cover he human resource aspects in attracting and retaining good employees. The green consumer phenomenon is here to stay and you need to be sure that your personal view does not hinder growth opportunities for your organization that could see it lose market share to competitors who are quick to capitalize on the benefits of adopting sustainable practices.

Attracting Potential Employees

One of the major advantages in adopting sustainable or green practices is the message that it portrays to the general public, customers and potential customers. However this message also reaches those who are seeking employment and in industries experiencing severe skills shortages, it could be a major factor in attracting good employees to your organization. University and college graduates are particularly influenced by an organization’s stance on the environment and are more likely to be drawn to a business that has an established and well documented view on combating climate change and other social issues. This is backed up by the results of the 2007 survey by Monster TRAK that found that:

  • 92% of graduating students indicated they would be more interested in working for an organization that is environmentally friendly
  • 80% of students are currently looking to work in an organization that makes a positive impact on the environment
  • 32% of students are currently looking for a job in an environmentally friendly role

These survey results are of no surprise given that members of the younger generation are more educated on the impacts of climate change and will bear the brunt of further severe weather conditions as the planet continues to warm.

Retaining Existing Employees

Existing employees can also be influenced by your environmental or corporate social responsibility programs. There are many case studies of high staff satisfaction levels from staff surveys of organizations that are known for their sustainability approach. Employees are more likely to be proud of working for an organization that regularly receives accolades for putting back to the community or assisting in the fight against climate change. This in turn leads to an improved level of engagement by employees and closer working relationship between employees and employer. Once again in tight labour markets, this could become a major factor in retaining valued employees and mitigates the risk of rival competitors poaching key employees. It is well documented that replacing staff members is a costly exercise when training costs and learning curves are taken into account.

Conclusion

In circumstances when your competitors are offering identical pay and working conditions, your environmental strategies may be a key factor in attracting and retaining valued employees. As a result your environmental strategies should be widely communicated both externally and internally in order to improve your corporate brand as well as your employee brand.

Next Steps

In the next series of articles I will go through the six P’s of going green for business, covering the areas of Power, Petrol, Paper, Products, People and Partnerships.

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