Employees Want to Do More to Help Companies Go Green
By Bernice Hurst, Managing Partner, Fine Food Network
surveys in the U.S. and U.K. about the views of employees towards their own,
and their employers’, green activities have been reported on GreenBiz.com.
In both cases, workers believed they were not able to do as much as they would
like because of constraints from their employers.
Results indicated that large British companies need to give employees more of a say in greening their workplaces while companies in the U.S. need to live up to their eco-friendly business practices internally as well as externally.
E.ON, a power and gas company in the U.K., surveyed 1,200 employees. Those in small to medium-sized firms appeared significantly more likely to help curb energy use and carbon emissions by turning off lights and computers and recycling than employees at larger companies, who said bureaucracy hampers their efforts.
Jim Macdonald, commercial director of E.ON U.K., said the research revealed employees’ feeling they must ask permission to make positive changes and this “prevents workers from taking the necessary steps… Businesses seeking to go green must look at cutting the red tape their employees face in implementing energy efficient work practices.”
In the U.S., The Marlin Company, specialists in workplace communications, surveyed 755 workers and found that 63 percent considered themselves greener than their employers. Thirty-six percent said they “believe that companies adopt environmentally friendly practices to obtain positive publicity or be politically correct.”
Frank Kenna III, CEO and president of the Marlin Company, said, “Companies need to do more than talk about green initiatives… Employees need to see that their company is serious about it. That means concrete actions such as in-house programs for saving energy and recycling, promoting carpooling and public transportation, four-day work weeks and educating employees on home-energy conservation.”
Discussion question: Are you surprised that employees are frustrated by their company’s green efforts? What particular hurdles are larger companies facing in their own green initiatives? What can companies do, in their stores and offices, to help employees go green?
- Highlights from The Marlin Company’s 14th Annual “Attitudes in the American Workplace” Poll of 2008 – The Marlin Company
- Big Companies Can Make it Harder for Employees to Help Go Green: Survey – GreenBiz