How can employees lead action against climate change?

The effects of Climate Change are becoming more evident and humanity needs to promote sustainability to avoid a global catastrophe. As part of the efforts, we all need to be part of the solution.

“If we want to solve the climate crisis, we will have to use every trick in the book,” says Joel Makower, president and co-founder of the GreenBiz Group, in an article published by GreenBiz in which he also points out that we will need to become more actively involved in caring for the environment.

According to Makower, sustainability professionals know perfectly well what will have to be done to prevent the planet from reaching an irreparable situation, but he questions whether this knowledge or intention is shared by every citizen, co-worker or colleague around us.

“But what about our colleagues and co-workers? What roles can they play? How should we engage with and empower them?”, he says.

The Drawdown Project

In 2017, The Drawdown Project was formed as a non-profit organization that aims to help expose and evaluate impactful solutions to stop climate change and, eventually, reduce the emission of polluting gases that generate it.

As part of these efforts, one of its divisions, Drawdown Labs, published a guide that aims to help employees use their skills and knowledge to contribute to the fight against the climate crisis.

Climate Solutions at Work: Unleashing your employee power.” is the name of the document and, according to the organization’s website, “employees are the backbone of a company’s ability to function, innovate and survive in uncertain times. Even for the most passionate climate advocates, it can be difficult to know how to accelerate action in the workplace and where to start. This easy-to-reference guide explores creative ways to bring the best private sector climate solutions to life.”

In addition, this guide, focused primarily for employees, has two main objectives, according to the organization’s website:

  • Democratize climate action so that all employees can contribute. You don’t have to have “sustainability” or “climate” in your job to take powerful climate action. Every job can be a climate job. This guide helps all employees in all sectors find their way.
  • It elevates corporate climate leadership by looking beyond “net zero.” A new business framework aligned with emissions reductions can help companies leverage their social, political, financial and employee power in pursuit of a stable climate and a just future for all.

The challenge of dealing with the climate crisis must include all of humanity, and that means that every job must be a climate job. At least that is how the organization sees it, as companies have struggled for years to engage their employees, at the very least, to be aware of environmental and climate issues in their own functions and departments.

For companies, encouraging employees to take climate action has become not only a way to help humanity, but also to attract and retain younger generations who are more concerned and sensitized to these issues. More organizations are working to turn employees into activists, thus generating a positive dynamic in favor of society and sustainability.

Science as an ally

The foundation on which all of Project Drawdown’s actions are based is science, as it is an organization led and formed by scientists who seek to make information accessible and easy to understand for everyone. The more people are able to see the importance of taking action, the greater the impact.

For Joel Makower, science may be the easy part. Considering that there is a need to engage companies on climate-related issues and that terms like target setting, purchasing carbon offsets, counting supply chain emissions, ensuring “climate competent” boards, setting science-based targets, and engaging in sustainable finance, climate disclosure, even business model transformation, the challenge is to make these actions attractive to take, as they are not things that just any manager or sales representative wants to understand.

“This free guide may be just what is needed in these perilous times as companies try to step up employee engagement on climate change” says Makower. While it can indeed be said today that “every job should be a climate job,” it remains a major challenge for most companies, though essential for those that want to be considered an employer of choice, not to mention an attractive brand, investment and neighbor.

To build a more sustainable future for our children and the next generations, everyone’s participation is essential. That is why at eSmart Recycling we believe in partnerships between the public and private sector. We could not deliver equipment to at-risk kids and families in the same way if many players in the community were not involved; from our corporate partners, to our nonprofit partners.

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