My new year’s resolution for 2023

As avid readers of my blogs may have noticed, I regularly call for organisations to make employee engagement a pillar of their sustainability strategy. I have described how employee engagement can turbocharge business efforts to reach net zero. I strongly believe that employee engagement can be good for business, and for the planet.

That’s why I was pleased to see “upskilling your organisation on sustainability topics” listed among Edie’s eight New Year’s resolutions for sustainability professionals. By “upskilling”, Edie means creating greater buy-in, action and engagement right across the business, rather than relying on the ‘faithful few’ of the sustainability team to drive the changes required.

I would have used the term “engaging” rather than “upskilling”, but that’s just the world I inhabit….

Through all my consulting experience, I have come to see this upskilling as being about more than one-off sustainability campaigns or training programmes; about more than attractive internal communications on how the business is becoming more planet-friendly.

Upskilling (or engaging) is also about listening: finding out what sustainability or net zero means to your employees, as individuals, and then discussing how it affects their role and function.

And it’s about empowerment: making it easier for teams of employees to plot their own course towards more sustainable ways of working, and then recognising and rewarding their efforts.

It’s actually about how your business interacts and co-creates with its employees. In other words, it’s about your organisational culture.

Anyone involved in organisational change, whether related to sustainability or to anything else, must pay attention to the power of organisational culture to catalyse, or to suppress, change. 

For this reason, I hope that 2023 is the year that culture takes its (rightful) place in the sustainability professional’s toolkit.

My new year’s resolution, for NetZero.Work at least, is to do all I can to turn this hope into reality.

Photo credits: Danil Aksenov and Ian Schneider

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