As the UK hosts the UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow this week, many employers are considering their environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies.
Research has found that whilst most companies feel that their employees have a key role in how they deliver their ESG strategies, very few had involved HR in delivery – meaning hardly any companies in the UK have an environmental policy which sets out their strategy and targets.
It is critical for HR to play a role in organisations’ environment/climate change agenda. From embedding environmental strategies, to designing measurable objectives and links to performance-based pay, HR is an area that can make or break the success of a company’s environmental strategy. Investors, employees and potential new hires are all looking at how companies are responding to the climate crisis.
It is essential that employers convert their organisation’s environmental strategy into an engaging ambition that colleagues choose to support. Companies can then measure how well they enable and motivate employees to contribute to the transition to net zero.
The benefits of an environmental policy
An environmental policy can provide significant benefits to your business, as follows:
• helping you to stay within the law
• keeping employees informed about their environmental roles and responsibilities
• improving cost control
• reducing incidents that result in liability
• conserving raw materials and energy
• improving your monitoring of environmental impacts
• improving the efficiency of your processes
The benefits are not restricted to internal operations. By demonstrating commitment to environmental management, you can develop positive relations with external stakeholders, such as investors, insurers, customers, suppliers, regulators and the local community. This in turn can lead to an improved corporate image and financial benefits, such as increased investment, customer sales and market share.
An environmental policy is an important addition to your staff handbook. Get in touch with GoodHR for a draft policy that you can tweak to suit your own organisation.
It’s important to bear in mind that these benefits are unlikely to be achieved simply by having an environmental policy in place. You will need to ensure the policy is integrated in to the business with workshops and training.
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