Building a sustainable future

Posted on June 28th 2024
Climate Environment Economic Social Diversity & Inclusion

Building a sustainable future: why embedding sustainability starts with your employees

Supporting the development of sustainability knowledge, competencies and skills is crucial for any business looking to make positive changes across Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) impact.

In 2020, climate activist Jamie Alexander delivered a TEDx Talk entitled: "No matter where we work, every job is a climate job now”. She argued that rather than relying on dedicated sustainability teams within companies, the climate crisis requires a massive shift, with every job transformed into a role that addresses climate in order to effectively address climate change.

She emphasised the urgent need to unleash the entire workforce, bringing expertise and fresh perspectives to address the problem, including integrating technical skills from different departments, encouraging new approaches from diverse backgrounds, and leveraging collective creativity in order to find solutions.

By educating and empowering all employees, she argued, we can create a powerful force for positive change within the climate space.

The same can be said for other key areas of sustainability including environmental action, social impact, and diversity and inclusion initiatives, but employees in all areas of a business must be equipt with the right skills and competencies if they are to make informed choices in their daily tasks.

Understanding the ‘why’ is crucial

From reducing waste to identifying energy-saving opportunities, small steps can collectively contribute to a significant impact. A sustainability-conscious workforce is also a more innovative one, with engaged employees more likely to brainstorm solutions to environmental challenges and develop new, sustainable products and services, propelling an organisation towards a competitive edge.

Studies show that employees who feel their work contributes to positive social and environmental outcomes are also more engaged and productive - embedding sustainability demonstrates a commitment to shared values, fostering a sense of purpose and pride within teams.

Developing effective strategies to make “every job a sustainability job” doesn’t have to be overwhelming. At FuturePlus, we have worked effectively with many businesses to help them develop both entry-level and deep-dive employee education programmes as well as providing practical tips for integrating sustainable practices into different roles, from chefs and wait-staff, to HR departments, operational and procurement teams, marketing and tech roles.

Encouraging open communication and idea sharing is key, as is integrating sustainability principles into leadership decisions and daily operations. By empowering employees with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions and contribute meaningfully to sustainability initiatives that stretch beyond climate action, organisations can navigate this critical shift with confidence.

To learn more about our employee education and training programmes, contact: [email protected]