86% of Employees Not Engaged By Companies’ Sustainability Programs

Environmental leader logo2 Internal corporate sustainability programs can be powerful engines of public engagement, but only if they're serious. A survey by Brighter Planet reveals that even though 86% of respondents were aware that their company had employee sustainability programs, they were not engaged by their employers on the issue. According to the study, smaller companies are much more likely to promote sustainability to their employees than larger companies.

Posted Feb. 12, 2010
By environmental LEADER

Firms seem to be talking the talk but not walking the walk when it
comes to engaging their employees on sustainability initiatives. About
86 percent of respondents to a recent survey said they were not engaged
by their employers on sustainability, even though the same amount – 86
percent – said that their organization promotes employee sustainability
in some arena. Only 14 percent of the employees said they were aware of
their companies having an employee sustainability engagement policy.

About 16 percent of respondents said their employer collects data related to employee sustainability, according to the “Employee Engagement Survey” (PDF) from Brighter Planet. The survey was handled by Saatchi & Saatchi.

Small organizations are taking the lead on employee sustainability
engagement. The report finds that employers with 100 people or less are
nearly twice as likely to promote sustainability “very frequently.”
What’s more, their efforts are twice as likely to be effective at
changing employee behavior.

The report found that the most effective engagement programs feature
an organization’s management or board as the main advocate for employee
sustainability. In fact, these programs have proven three times as
effective as those in which an employee sustainability director was the
main advocate.

Employees say they are generally dissatisfied with their employers’ sustainability engagement efforts.

Over 60 percent of respondents want to learn more about their
employers’ and co-workers’ sustainability efforts. Another 67 percent
are dissatisfied with their employer’s stance on sustainability and
would like it changed.

While many organizations view sustainability programs as a potential
competitive advantage, of those employers publicly sharing their
sustainability efforts, 59 percent of respondents said it was done for
sales and marketing purposes.

Another 46 percent said their companies shared sustainability efforts publicly as a means of employee recruitment and retention.

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