The Cost of Going Green: Tips for Increasing Sustainability Efforts from TNS

Making a commitment to sustainability and taking resulting action is a critical element in today’s corporate world, but without employee involvement, success can be limited. Yet, many managers question how an organization measures the awareness and effectiveness of its green initiatives. Senior consultants at TNS have identified five tips for increasing communications around sustainability efforts.

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We are starting to see an increase in survey questions focused on ‘green initiatives’ in employee surveys. Employers want to measure not only the awareness but the extent to which employees embrace this as part of their culture.

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) March 28, 2012

Making a commitment to sustainability and taking resulting action is a critical element in today’s corporate world, but without employee involvement, success can be limited. Recent studies from TNS Employee Insights show that internal communication efforts play a key role in increasing the awareness and effectiveness of sustainability programs.

Many managers may ask themselves the same resounding questions: how effective is an organization at engaging employees in sustainability efforts? And how does an organization measure the awareness and effectiveness of such initiatives?

In order to answer such questions, senior consultants at TNS have identified five tips for increasing communications around sustainability efforts:

1.    Educate new hires: from the first day an employee begins with a company, they should receive an overview of the company’s sustainability plans and efforts.
2.    Reach employees where they work – ensure that sustainability messaging/reminders are located in the work environment.
3.    Inspire creativity and competition – track progress and engage employees or departments in generating ideas for increasing sustainability.
4.    Promote continuing education – sustainability is a process, not a single event driven experience, so remember to share updates with employees on the organization’s initiatives on a regular basis.
5.    Celebrate successes – recognize departments or work units that generate ideas around sustainability or exceed sustainability goals.

As important as communication is to the effectiveness of sustainability efforts, it is also important to measure the awareness and effectiveness of the programs. According to TNS research, there is an increasing trend occurring in employee surveys focusing on sustainability.

“We are starting to see an increase in survey questions focused on ‘green initiatives’ in employee surveys. Employers want to measure not only the awareness but the extent to which employees embrace this as part of their culture,” said Christy Kessler, director at TNS Employee Insights.

Although sustainability initiatives have become an increasingly central component of business dealings, many organizations have difficulty evaluating the financial return on their sustainable strategy. Deloitte’s Global Center for Corporate Governance released "The Sustainable Board," a white paper providing an overview of sustainability and its impact on organizations.

According to the paper: “Building sustainability into corporate strategy can help organizations to enhance revenue and build brand value; better engage with key stakeholders…reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies; and manage risks. A sustainability perspective on strategy can also help identify how sustainability opportunities and risks flow through the extended value chain, allowing that information to drive innovation.”

Based on TNS 2012 normative benchmark data, 92 percent of employees responded favorably toward their company’s “green” initiatives. Similarly, 79 percent of employees believe that their company is an environmentally responsible organization.

Many green initiative teams recommend identifying specific solutions to help the organization operate in a more environmentally sustainable manner. These may include promoting common environmentally-friendly operations at the office such as recycling and composting food waste, and reducing the use of plastic carry-out containers or investing in silverware instead of using plastic cutlery.

The focus on integrating sustainability in operations is evolving. Focus efforts of integrating sustainability into employees’ lives, and align efforts to support broader corporate objectives. This can be a low-cost strategy for saving money, increasing innovation and furthering a more productive workforce.

For more information on research, normative data, and business metrics related to sustainability, please contact Stacey Atkins, TNS global business development at: (847) 726-4040 ext. 267 or by email at: info(at)tnsemployeeinsights(dot)com.