Can employers afford not to care about climate change?

Students care more about climate change now than ever

Almost 20 000 students of France’s top Universities have pledged to not work for companies that do not strive to fight climate change. And the number keeps growing every day.

In the USA, the UK, Sweden and many other places, student movements have forced universities to divest from fossil companies. It is quite likely that those who successfully contributed to these campaigns will not completely change their views in a few years when it will be time for them to find a job.

Still a few years away from the job market, thousands of high school students are following the example of Greta Thunberg and go on a weekly school strike for the climate. These kids are not going to pretend that what they do at work stays at work, especially when it comes to climate change.

This is just another proof that corporate environmental responsibility does not only matter to shareholders and customers but also to employees.

In order to attract and retain young talents, human resources managers need not only to support and strengthen the CSR policy of their organisation but they should also ensure that the staff gets involved in it too.

Involving all the staff in your fight against climate change

With an increase in people’s awareness of climate issues, publishing a yearly environmental report and putting plants in the office is not going to be enough to convince employees that their job doesn’t threaten the planet.

Young people do not only want to see good things happen, but they also want to be part of it. This is why human resources should look for means to engage employees in adopting eco-friendly work habits, to make them contribute to the CSR policy of the company, and even to build a corporate culture with the care for the environment at heart.

If you are interested in discussing more this topic, and how to achieve employee engagement around climate change issues, write a comment or contact us.

Find here a few articles about the French students’ movement (in Swedish, & in French) and the text of the pledge.

Links about the students’ movements in the USA, the UK, and Sweden.

Get inspired by brave Greta Thunberg.

Read more about employer branding and sustainability.

To reduce emissions from flights we have to change our habits because we cannot rely on technology only

Time to set the facts straight

Last week, the rectors of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and of Chalmers University of Technology, together with several colleagues, posted an opinion column in Dagens Nyheter to recall some scientific facts in the current debate about air travel in Sweden.

First, the impact of air travel on climate is real, important, growing and possibly underestimated.

Second, technological solutions will not become mainstream before decades, which means that we cannot afford to do nothing and wait for the problem to be solved in the future. Besides, both electrification and switching to biofuels will heavily compete with the solutions developed for road traffic emissions. Indeed, there will not be enough biofuel and affordable electricity (and batteries) to replace all the cars and airplanes we use today.

As a conclusion, the only solution, they write, is to diminish all travel flights, including international ones.

How can sustainability managers act according to these scientific facts? How to steer habit change?

Since technological solutions are not available in the short term, it is necessary to work on changing behaviours of employees. This takes time and requires to get everybody understand the objectives. Here are a few things that can help

  • inform employees about the impact of every business trip they are having
  • set reduction targets together with every manager for every department
  • discuss the needs of the staff for tools that can help avoiding business trips, such as dedicated web conferencing infrastructures, co-working tools and so on
  • communicate internally about the progress of the most successful employees and teams

With all these steps, Job Footprint can help you and strengthen your work. If you want to know more about our tools, visit our website or contact us.

The concept of Job Footprint

What is Job Footprint?

Job Footprint aims at significantly improving the approach to Corporate Environmental Sustainability complementing the traditional top-down approach by a bottom-up one. This is achieved by giving the means to every employee to monitor and diminish the impact on the environment of their own activities at work. With an innovative approach, based on employee engagement and empowerment, new ideas and best practices can rapidly be shared and implemented across the organisation in order to diminish the work-related impact on the climate and the environment. To achieve this, Job Footprint delivers every month an environmental diagnostic, for every employee and every team, automatically calculated thanks to the data the employer already has (business travel bills, printer usage, daily commute distance, office consumable purchases, waste generated by the cafeteria etc). This allows employees to understand which of their job-related activities have the strongest impact on climate. Making use of gamification features and best practice sharing platform, Job Footprint engages individuals and teams to get inspired by each other in order to make their work habits more sustainable.

How does Job Footprint support sustainability managers?

Job Footprint does not write your sustainability report nor interfere with your external communication. Our purpose is not to sell you carbon offsets but to actually help you dimish your impact on the climate.

Job Footprint is a tool to help sustainability managers to be more effective in engaging other employees to change their behaviour at work in a way that is better for the environment but does not interfere with their tasks.

Somehow, it is like inventing the painting brush, of course, it can help anyone paint better but those who already have notions of colours, light, perspective, spatial composition, will actually make the best out of it. However, it can also help those organisations who are in the very early phases of their path towards sustainability, getting started.

Is Job Footprint for my organisation?

Job Footprint is for every organisation: private company, administration, NGO, university, but right now Job Footprint focuses on those with at least 200 employees. It is best suited for those who aim at diminishing their indirect emissions (Scope 3 in reporting jargon).

If the climate impact of your organisation is mainly due to the behaviour of the employees (business travels, commute, office supplies…), then Job Footprint is specially designed for you.

Why does it matter?

Maybe you think that office workers do not cause much greenhouse gas emissions. This a very common misconception due to the fact that office work, unlike many industries, never appears as such in national and international carbon accounting.

In fact, depending on the estimates and the companies, office workers are considered to cause between 4 and 7 tons of CO₂ emissions per year. In a country like Sweden, there are 2 300 000 office workers, that is 23% of the total population. This represents at least 9 million tons of CO₂ emitted by Swedish office workers every year. This is the equivalent of 17% of Sweden’s emissions. This is far from being negligible.

What are the different Job Footprint offers?

Depending on your organisation’s ambition to tackle indirect emissions and engage employees in more sustainable behaviours, Job Footprint offers different plans. All of these require a starting fee and a monthly fee to keep receiving the monthly reports. At any point, you can decide to increase or decrease your plan. Do not hesitate to contact us for pricing information.

I am interested, how does it work?

It is quite simple and there are only a few steps to follow.

  1. Contact us so we can start discussing your needs and come up with the best-suited solution.
  2. We perform a feasibility study by interviewing several staff members (HR, accounting and IT) in order to assess which are the data that are available at your organisation, how the Job Footprint tools can access them, which are the activities of your employees you wish to see covered. We can then make you several offers.
  3. We agree together on the carbon intensity of the different activities of your organisation, based on your annual sustainability report and the Job Footprint methodology.
  4. Our tech team comes to your company to install the system and integrate it into the tools your organisation works with on a daily basis.
  5. On a regular basis, we reassess together your needs, the new data available and the carbon intensity of the different activities, in order to take into account the changes your organisation has implemented. We can also reassess the climate strategy of your organisation.

What does it look like?

If you wish to see how the Job Footprint tools look like, please contact us so we can send you the password to our demo page