How to educate your workforce on sustainability

Sustainability is the common thread that runs through every aspect of our lives, it shapes the way we live, our habits, our purchasing decisions, how we travel, how we socialise, and so much more. Whether these decisions are made consciously or subconsciously, consideration for the world that we live in must be an underlying factor, as without this, climate change will prevail, natural resources will deplete, and ecosystems will be erased.

Sustainable living is a way of life that can be embraced with ease, with the right knowledge, education, and inspiration to hand, for which opportunities are countless when championed by professional workplaces. Research shows that employees are conscious of their employer’s sustainability record and willingness to provide access to sustainable resources.

According to PLAY’s Corporate Climate Crisis whitepaper, 77 per cent of respondents claimed to desire more transparency from their employer on environmental impact, while 43 per cent said that their company’s actions on sustainability made a difference. This shows that there is growing demand from employees for workplaces to introduce greener working practices.

Karl Hodson of UK Business Finance, explains how employers can strive to make a difference in the workplace and educate their workforce on sustainability.

How to inspire sustainability in the workplace  

Workplace culture – The culture at work shapes how employees communicate, their willingness to share views and their receptiveness to new ideas. If an employer supports employee wellbeing and provides a safe and open working environment, they are likely to be more receptive to new initiatives and respectable of an employer’s efforts.

Introducing sustainability into workplace culture starts by training new habits so that they become second nature. If this is fed top-down from management, through to senior level staff, employees are more likely to take this on board. This may range from small changes, such as switching off monitors when not in use, or recycling waste, or larger scale changes, such as repurposing office space to maximise usage or quality checking supply chains.

Workplace champions – The first step is to communicate how you wish to build a more sustainable workplace and how employees are expected to participate, although the hard work will lie with the practical implementation of this. To access on-the-ground support, seek volunteers that are passionate about sustainability and get them involved.

Workplace champions can drum up support on a regional level and use their relationships within the office to get the message heard and actioned.

Education – For employees to share a mutual interest, you must be transparent and give them all the information that they require to make an informed decision – this is where education fits in. Knowledge sharing is key to the successful rollout of any new strategy, as with knowledge comes understanding.

Sustainability news is abundant in the public sphere, from air quality reports to clean energy initiatives. Handpick the information that’s relevant to your employees, such as workplace-centric measures that you wish to implement and break this down into a digestible format. Educate your employees so that they can understand the motives behind your actions and strive to work and live more sustainably.

Awareness days – A national calendar of events inspired by the environment and sustainability can provide your workplace with the opportunity to raise awareness.

From Global Recycling Day, World Bike Week, Plastic Free July to World Clean Up Day, there are lots of ways that your workplace can get employees involved. Start a company-wide challenge, launch a charitable pursuit, sponsor an environmental charity, or contribute to sustainable investments.

A sustainable business can be more wholesome for stakeholders, employees and customers alike, so dedicate time and resources to educate staff on how to make smarter decisions to protect the planet.

This blog is a guest post from Karl Hodson, a business finance expert dedicated to fuelling the growth of UK companies. Karl advises business owners on the wide range of financial products available to boost cash flow, fund purchases, and invest.