ESG employee benefits: 4 steps to reduce your company carbon footprint
Over the last 10 years, there has been a massive shift in the conversation going on at government, business, and consumer levels about the climate crisis. Global campaigns like the UN’s Race to Net Zero and the rise of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategies have taken centre stage.
The effect on HR from these external pressures has been increased interest in ESG employee benefits that support the mission to reduce a company carbon footprint. Internally, the pressure comes directly from the people in the organisation, with the modern workforce being attracted to, and staying with, businesses that live sustainable or green employer brand values.
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ― Jane Goodall
Following the publishing of the UN’s report on the climate crisis, many of us are thinking about steps we can take to bring about change. What is perhaps less widely known, is that implementing ESG employee benefits such as Net Zero pensions, measuring employee carbon footprints and reducing or offsetting this, can have a significant impact on the company carbon footprint.
ESG employee benefits also echo the values of Generation Z and Millennials, who now make up over 50% of the workforce. Labelled as the sustainability generation, this has a huge effect on attracting and retaining talent.
It’s not just big brands doing the right thing, SMEs can also take important steps to save the planet. Below are 4 steps that can be taken with immediate effect.
Step 1 – Measure employee carbon footprints
Establishing a carbon output score is an essential component on the journey towards Net Zero; HR can feed into the overall sustainability strategy by:
- Measuring the carbon footprint for each employee
- Aggregating this data for an overall company score
This baseline allows businesses to start to track and change their business for the better. By encouraging employees to measure, offset and ultimately reduce their carbon, they’ll be building the companies’ overall goal. Plus, offering employees the choice in how they offset or reduce their carbon, means the business reaps the benefits of more engaged employees and a better employee experience.
The fundamental reason for doing this at a company level is to support the wider sustainability goals of the organisation, and the nation as we tackle the climate crisis together. The aggregated score, which can and should be measured, improved and communicated year on year, is great for the employer brand, but also the brand in general. Who doesn’t want to buy from a business that genuinely cares about the planet?
Step 2 – Switch to a Net Zero pension
Sounds like a big decision, and it is. HR are the gatekeepers of each employees’ pension pot and rightly, switching providers can be daunting. Think of the facts; 80% of UK residents themselves are concerned about climate change and 87% of employees want their employers to take action on pensions, which generate up to 23 tonnes of carbon, per pension pot, per year (Cushon, 2020).
It’s easy to see the impact of a switch based on those numbers.
- 500 employees with 1 pension = 11,500 tonnes of Co2 saved or offset
- 5000 employees with 1 pension = 115,000 tonnes of Co2 saved or offset
This is a great place to start for a company that has just embarked on its sustainability journey; but realistically, it’s something all businesses should be looking at doing to enhance their employer brand and employee experience. There are lots of future promises made around green and ethical pensions, with Net Zero by 2030 or 2050 being commonplace. We say, why not Net Zero Now?
Step 3 – Move to electric vehicles or fuel cards
Introducing electric vehicles into a business is a significant step in reducing carbon and benefitting the environment. If that’s not enough, there are a number of tax benefits to driving an electric car, too.
The UK government has put in place various incentives to encourage business uptake, and as companies begin to wake up to the cost savings they can bring, it’s time to seriously consider the switch to electric.
The tax benefits can be significant, and they apply to hybrid vehicles with emissions from 1-50g/km and a pure electric range of more than 130 miles.
If switching your fleet or offering salary sacrifice EVs is not something that can be achieved currently, there are other options. For example, if a business uses fuel cards, the fuel purchased via that card can be carbon offset.
Step 4 – Offer renewable energy options
With a hybrid remote working model here to stay, it’s the perfect time for businesses to offer access to renewable energy providers through their employee benefits. Some renewable energy providers can offer a switch with zero fees or a discount when offered through an employee benefits platform.
Offering this benefit to employees gives them a choice to be more eco-conscious in their personal lives and link this ‘good feeling’ back to their employer. A recent Mckinsey poll revealed that 89% of employees see it as necessary for their employer to make sustainability a priority. So, empowering employees to reduce their personal carbon footprint, comes full circle and contributes towards organisational sustainability goals.
Now you know – why wouldn’t you?
Our platform, Lumina, includes your choice of the above products and services, plus your flexible employee benefits platform, HR Information System, online payslips, and other work-related technology, so it’s all in one place. Good for people, good for the planet.