With companies aware of the environmental effects of carbon emissions, and energy prices continually rising, businesses are as incentivised as ever to focus on sustainability. However, whilst reducing energy usage and saving money are great reasons for doing so, an often-overlooked benefit is the sense of unity Carbon Responsibility projects can create within a business.
Many employees will agree that sustainability is important for their company, however, many will feel that achieving this is someone else’s problem.
Organisations who are successful in implementing sustainability into their business model do so by instilling a sense of ownership onto employees. As environmental conscientiousness continues to grow, companies can fulfil their employees’ need to help by making sustainability part of their purpose.
To install this sense of ownership, companies need to introduce it to stakeholders as an opportunity for everyone to contribute to the future well-being of both the company and society. Oftentimes in a company, projects in which every single member of the organisation is involved are rare;
Added benefits are that research has shown that feelings of organisational ownership lead to greater job satisfaction, engagement, productivity and profits.
Whilst presenting sustainability as an opportunity to do societal good works for some employees, others may require other incentives.
An example of one method is that used by a major high street retailer, which attempted to directly tie energy usage to financial reward. The firm operates a yearly bonus scheme based on company performance for all full-time employees, and so produced a series of posters to highlight this in an inventive way – posters were placed next to light switches in of offices with the slogan “Stop! You’re burning my bonus!”, attempting to create a mental link between the operation of the switch and future reward – “Is it really necessary to use this?”
With this, and the more socially-focused approach, staff are involved to a certain extent, but without feedback on their collective actions, this does not produce the feeling of positive control and collaboration that is necessary for long term commitment to a course of action.
A great solution to this is publicly-displayed energy dashboards to provide visual feedback on how employees’ collective efforts are resulting in energy savings, making the organisation more sustainable.
Using empirical evidence from a variety of sources it can generally be expected that a committed, educated and informed workforce can result in increases in energy efficiency of 5-10% – desirable results that can be built on over time.
Energy dashboards provide the education and informational boost required to easily achieve this.
Whilst facilities managers and those in charge of energy policy will, of course, benefit from personal displays, the installation of Energy Dashboards in public areas are an easy and effective way to keep other staff “in the loop”, providing visual feedback of behaviour.
This results in increased feelings of control and integration amongst employees – if people can see that the activities they, as colleagues and as a business as a whole