HR to go green to tackle environmental challenges The government published its Climate Action Plan (the Plan) this month. The publication of the Plan follows the success of the Green Party in the European and local elections which provided a strong signal that Irish people want action on climate change. Irish businesses can tap into this trend by taking steps to allow employees to make their contribution to the fight against climate change. The role of enterprise in tackling climate change The Plan includes proposals setting out how the business sector will play its part in achieving ambitious emissions targets before 2020 and 2030. Some larger businesses have already set targets to reduce their emissions by 50% by 2030. The Plan predicts that businesses and industries that fail to make early moves to integrate decarbonisation activity into their business model will become increasingly uncompetitive. Where does green HR come in? Savvy small businesses that respond early to this trend by incorporating sustainability into existing work practices will not only be prepared for the impact of the Plan but are also more likely to experience some added HR upsides. What is green HR? Once your business commits to adopting a green approach, staff need to be educated on how sustainability principles are integrated into work practices. Green employers and employees will know and understand the business and environmental cases for adhering to green HR policies. Adopting a green approach will influence existing HR priorities such as recruitment, appraisal, learning and development and employee relations which are all capable of incorporating sustainability goals. A clear HR policy should demonstrate the value of incorporating sustainability into work practices, and how green systems benefit both the environment and the organisation. The upsides of green HR Businesses that promote the sustainable use of resources will be prepared for environmental regulations which look set to increase under the Plan. Once the initial cost of incorporating sustainability principles into a business is absorbed, the operation will enjoy reduced costs, reputational and branding opportunities along with knock-on benefits in HR areas like recruitment, retention and employee morale. Cost savings Green HR can reduce costs. Greater efficiencies and reduced waste can all reduce carbon footprints and associated costs. Recycling and conservation initiatives reduce waste costs and increase employee awareness of how their work contributions are helping to tackle the ongoing environmental challenges. Stand out from the crowd The millennial generation will soon make up the bulk of the workforce. Surveys suggest that this generation are more motivated to work for values-based organisations than profit-based ones. Businesses that ignore the ‘green wave’ risk losing out on talented millennial employees if they ignore the environmental aspect of their operations. Larger enterprises are already going green in their efforts to distinguish themselves from competitors and attract talented employees in an increasingly tight labour market. Businesses that commit to social responsibility principles are also more likely to have engaged staff that stay over the longer term. Need help with implementing green HR policies? If you are interested in introducing green HR policies to your business, call 1890 252 923 to speak with an HR expert today or if you would like one of our advisors to call you back, fill in your details here.