Sustainability once thought of being an exclusive for the “tree-hugger” corporate types has now become an integral part of corporate philosophy every business. The change in outlook is in part due to a new crop of organizational leaders who understand the effect of human activity on the environment and the importance of mitigation initiatives.
However, since most of corporate initiatives are about the bottom-line, the biggest reason for the rise in sustainability endeavors has been to increase the bottom line. Embracing sustainable practices like energy conservation and efficiency results in overall cost reduction, which increases profitability. It is like entering a match you cannot lose.
However, the biggest challenge according to contributions on the Utility Warehouse Complaints forum, especially for smaller organizations lies in the planning and implementation of these green strategies. Multi-national corporations that have previously relied on top-down approaches on matters of strategy are now finding that the same model ill-fits sustainability strategies.
The reason for this is that top managers in an organization more often than not lack the technical/hands-on skill and experience to be able to identify areas where to practice energy conservation, for instance. In addition, employees tend to be hostile to policies handed down at them, reducing possible efficiency of management policies.
Policies generated in top-down fashion also tend to be more theoretical and profit-focused, rather than practical, which can create a conflict at implementation. This is why we advise crowdsourcing for sustainability solutions from employees and even external stakeholders.
How to crowdsource for energy saving ideas in your Orgnanization
The wise company realizes that its greatest assets lie not in what it has but rather in the minds of the people, it employs. By factoring in this asset into the building of your sustainability strategy, you are likely to surmount every challenge presented by a top-down policy approach from senior management behind closed doors.
Employees have the best knowledge and experience about your organization’s processes, work and effect on the immediate surroundings. They know all there is about their work environment and how to conserve energy in the day-to-day running, they know what technologies are energy guzzlers without paying back in productivity. In short, they will be the practical aspect of your sustainability initiative.
By including staff members from all levels as equal contributors to your corporate strategy, you gain a workforce that feels a sense of ownership towards the policies you seek to implement, and who will therefore be on the forefront of contributing towards its eventual success.
In fact, when in doubt, take the word of the machine operator over his manager. The employee operating the equipment will understand its internal workings and have the best understanding of how to improve its operations. Including the employees in the strategy process is the best way to ensure their full devotion to solutions towards sustainability improvement.
Gone are the days when environmentally sound practices were thought of as being more involving without offering the same in productivity; now organizations have discovered that conservation of energy and resources can generate massive cost savings, all of which together will ultimately give a more profitable and sustainable enterprise.