There is an ever increasing demand from a diverse range of stakeholders for companies and their employees to go about business in an increasingly responsible manner. However engaging employees in an internal environmental sustainability strategy and maintaining momentum can be challenging. Organisations consistently face the same questions – how do you get employees to see the link between the company’s environmental performance and their individual actions? What needs to be done to make a difference? Who needs to be involved? Where do we start? How do we convince them this is not extra work, just a more responsible way of going about our business?
Bayer Australia and New Zealand is one organisation that, working in partnership with OgilvyEarth, has successfully designed and implemented an internal environmental sustainability communication program. Bayer’s employees are engaged, empowered and motivated to make a difference and are provided with the tools, resources and support required to be part of the solution to improving Bayer’s sustainability.
So how did they do it?
Made up of multiple elements, the B-Green program rollout inspired employees to make a difference, reinforcing throughout communication “lots of small changes x 850 employees + family + friends = big change”. There were three things Bayer wanted their employees to do – Consider the environment in everything they do, take personal responsibility for their actions and embed care for the environment as part of their every day. This led to the development of the B-Green charter – “Think.Act.Live.”
The B-Green program provided employees with educational tools and resources to understand what daily actions they can take not only at work but at home as well , such as printing smarter and considering what can be re-used even before recycling; and what positive effects this leads to in the bigger picture.
Initial research had identified the need for leadership to demonstrate their personal commitment and support, so Bayer’s leadership team were actively involved from day one and continue to play an important role in communicating sustainability as a business imperative.
Bayer set specific reduction targets for their Australia and New Zealand operations and regularly measures and informs employees of progress.
Bayer Australia and New Zealand’s environmental performance has significantly improved.
Employees have taken up the challenge to make a change, providing a comprehensive list of their own ideas on what could be done to improve sustainability based on their first hand experiences in their role and area of the business; and the program continues to be an ongoing part of life at Bayer.
As just reward for their efforts, the B-Green campaign has won a prestigious internal global award for Bayer Australia and New Zealand, the “Bayer Award for Excellence in Communications – Employee Communications”. This is an international award with more than 800 submissions.
Just goes to show that employees are a big part of the solution. Remember – lots of small changes x lots of people = big change!