Responsible companies are doing more and more to be accountable and they are making efforts to improve their sustainability performance, reducing their carbon footprint by implementing cleaner technologies or getting involved in community activity to support climate change initiatives; in short, acting as responsible corporate citizens.
When addressing climate change issues at a company’s level, both top-down and bottom-up approaches are needed. High-level management commitment towards environmental protection and social responsibility is essential.
Nevertheless an appropriate organizational culture, relevant policies, KPIs and specific actions cannot be implemented without employees’ active involvement.
High sustainability performance can be achieved by exceeding legal requirements, voluntarily committing to protecting the environment and mitigating the impact of day to day activities, supporting communities and integrating sustainability aspects into all business development decisions. The responsibility for this rests with the high level management (CEO, Executive Board, shareholders etc.), which should also encourage employees to participate in the decision-making process to support the sustainability agenda.
Good results will be obtained only if employees understand the organizational sustainability approach, adhere to the company’s commitments and easily accept the associated responsibilities or tasks. Good results are much more difficult to be achieved with reluctant people, who see sustainability as an “extra-job” burden.
Effective communication, training, educational campaigns, competitions and rewards are means for motivating staff to engage in improving the company’s sustainability performance and their own conduct, both at the office and at home.
Increasing the company’s level of transparency by internal disclosure of sustainability performance information and how this is important for employees will lead to their extensive involvement in the sustainability management process.
The key to a company’s success in achieving its sustainability goals is an effective synergy between the culture of the firm, high-level management and employees. Progress in improving sustainability performance necessitates joint efforts from all parties involved and coherent actions for environmental protection and social support, considering the needs and concerns of relevant stakeholders.
Geta Diaconu, Director, Sustainability Advisory Services at KPMG in Romania