How employee benefits providers can support Net Zero goals

Tree planting employee benefit

HR has the power to influence organisational sustainability goals, like Net Zero or B-Corp certification. We have seen a genuine change of priorities for both employees and employers over the last few years when it comes to ESG Strategy. Employee benefits platforms are a vital tool in attracting and retaining top talent. Even more so now, as employee benefits packages can be matched to people’s sustainability values, with carbon neutral pensions, electric vehicles and tree planting schemes available to businesses. 

Below, Henry Bishop, Co-founder Furthr, explains the rise of the climate-conscious employee and how employee benefits providers can support HR to create employee benefits packages that are good for people and the planet. 

Behold: The Rise of the Climate-Conscious Employee

The recent IPCC report on the state of our climate crisis makes one thing abundantly clear: climate change has arrived, with global temperatures soaring 1.09°C higher during the 2010s compared to 1850-1900. We can see the effects of this warming everywhere we look, with large-scale forest fires ablaze this summer in Greece, Turkey, Russia, Morocco, Spain… the list goes on.

But when we think of solutions to this growing crisis and the race to Net Zero, what better place to start than the working world? Below, we explore the meteoric rise of the climate-conscious employee as the bedrock of positive climate action – and why engaging them to act is so important.

Employees Now Care. A lot.

A recent Mckinsey poll revealed that 89% of employees see it as necessary for their employer to make sustainability a priority. These stats are hardly surprising, given that 80% of UK residents themselves are concerned about climate change.

But what is surprising: the monumental surge in this climate-conscious sentiment amongst global workforces over the last couple of years. Just take a quick look at Peakton’s 2020 Employee Expectations Report, which captured 14 million replies from employees across 140 countries and found an 89% increase in environmental comments vs 2018.

It’s clear: employees – alike to consumers – have woken up to the climate crisis en masse, and want to be part of the solution.

They’re Perfectly-Placed to Drive Positive Climate Change

Employee bases have all the minerals required to be at the core of our fight against climate change. As we’ve seen above, they care. But what really sets them apart is that each employee base already shares their businesses common goals, culture and values.

Put these pieces together and you have the most impactful engine for positive change possible: a conscious community, who are poised to act together.

Climate Action Is the Best Engagement Tool!

So what do our conscious employee communities want? We’ve seen they want their employer to make sustainability a priority – but far beyond this, they want to feel engaged too, with only 21% of UK employees saying they feel ‘very engaged’ at work in 2021.

And it goes without saying that lack of engagement impacts the bottom line, with engaged employee bases driving 21% higher profitability and 17% higher productivity for their employer (Gallup 2018).

This is where the magic happens: what better way is there in 2021 to engage employees than leading them to act on climate change… together.  Everyone wins… really:

Employees can:

  1. Become less anxious about our climate crisis.
  2. Build more togetherness with their colleagues given their shared action and goals.
  3. Feel more engaged and supported by their employer on their climate concerns.

Employers can:

  1. Drive a monumental company-wide positive impact, with Scope 3 employee emissions being a key footprint hotspot.
  2. Show their employees that they are going beyond the standard ‘measure and offset’ with their climate strategy.
  3. Retain talent and bolster bottom line.

And that’s not even to mention how the planet could win, with 3.3 billion people currently in the global workforce.

So How Could You Engage Your Employees?

The possibilities are endless, but what we’ve seen works best is:

  • Make it Tangible: measure each employee’s personal footprint and show them their personal impact in ways they can understand.
  • Support Them to Reduce: hand-hold them in changing their behaviours – both personal and collective.
  • Give Easy Solutions: connect them with easy, impactful opportunities to act.
  • Focus on Team: make sure the team is aware of the collective impact they’re having at all times – teamwork makes the dream work!
  • Keep it Fun: ensure the team enjoy the impact they’re making together.

If you’re interested in reducing your company’s carbon footprint book a demo of Lumina® and start building a climate-positive workforce.

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