Most companies today have declared their commitment to sustainability.
But, have you ever wondered how effective these companies actually are in accelerating sustainability?
A few years ago, Bain & Company published a report surveying over 300 large companies engaged in sustainability efforts and found that 98% of sustainability initiatives fail! ⚠️ Further reports have predicted that only 5% of companies have a chance of meeting the Paris Agreement targets for carbon emissions reduction.
So, why do the vast majority of sustainability change programs fail? Here are some of the biggest barriers:
❌ Lack of investment or resources
❌ Competing priorities
❌ Culture change challenges
❌ Organizational obstacles (e.g. structure, decision-making)
❌ Lack of a compelling case for change
What’s more, data shows that while change programs are already difficult to achieve, sustainability change programs are even harder:
These findings might be tough to swallow – but there’s good news!
Bain & Company’s research also identified the biggest success factors of sustainability initiatives:
❇️ Senior leadership support
❇️ Employee engagement and interest
❇️ Clear goals and metrics
❇️ Effective internal communication
❇️ Introduction of environmentally friendly policies & processes
Let’s dive into one of the biggest success factors: Employee engagementLeadership (which just so happens to also be our specialty).
Ultimately, there is no sustainable development without engaged employees. Why? 👉 Because sustainability starts with people. While leaders are responsible for holding (and leading) the overall vision of the business and making the big decisions, it is the people who put strategy into action.
In order to boost sustainability within an organization and beyond, employees must feel co-ownership of the overall strategy and be empowered to drive change. Former Unilever CEO Paul Polman and H.J. Zoffer Chair in Sustainability and Ethics CB Bhattacharya lay out eight ways to engage employees in your organization’s sustainability journey:
💎 Define the company’s long-term purpose
💎 Spell out the economic case for sustainability
💎 Create sustainability knowledge and competence
💎 Make every employee a sustainability champion
💎 Co-create sustainable practices with employees
💎 Encourage healthy competition among employees
💎 Make sustainability visible inside and outside the company
💎 Showcase higher purpose by creating transformational change
Besides engaging and empowering your employees, it’s also important to make any change management processes visible, which is why we often include internal communication in our sustainability programs.
👉Are you looking to amp up your sustainability efforts through your employees? Contact us today!