Managing climate change at work

by 15 Apr 2008

RECRUITMENT STRATEGIES should be designed to highlight environmental and ethical concerns, according to Anita Mitchell, general manager sustainability for Bovis Lend Lease Asia-Pacific.

As potential employees increasingly expect to work for an organisation that shares their environmental and ethical concerns it is important to clearly demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to this.

“We need to ensure our people not only share our passion for the environment but are also equipped with the skills to contribute to this focus. The education and empowerment of employees is therefore key and the HR function can play an important role in developing the strategies to make this possible,” she said.

It was revealed at the recent “Climate Change @ Work: Managing the Challenge” conference that issues of climate change and sustainability have been emerging as matters of growing significance within companies, with many companies employing sustainable strategies and staff who are aware of the issues.

“We are looking for talented employees with sustainability credentials who can help us to achieve our vision. We ensure all our new and existing employees are educated about the importance of sustainability. This helps to ensure individual employees not only take personal responsibility for sustainability, but are empowered to help find new sustainable solutions within their work,” Mitchell said.

Implementing change is always a challenge. This is especially so when it comes to issues of everyday life at work and in the development and use of new skills arising from global warming which are intersecting with changes in working life.

With 78 per cent of companies believing they have a social responsibility to reduce carbon emissions many companies are leading the way with sustainability strategies. Lend Lease requires all its businesses to have sustainability plans and disclosure practices.

Westpac, which was named top global bank in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, introduced programs such as discounts for products to help home loan customers reduce their carbon footprint. And BHP Billiton has introduced emissions quotas throughout its operations and uses contractual relationships to impose similar expectations on suppliers and partners.

However there is still a long way to go. Also presenting at the conference, Leslie Loble from the NSW Department of Education and trading revealed that while employees are aware of the impact of disposing/recycling their products, few companies have an understanding of the impacts of an emission trading scheme, government programs to help reduce greenhouse gases, and the cost associated with the community social responsibility.

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