Cool Choices is thrilled to continue our partnership with Kohler Co. for a second employee sustainability engagement program. Kohler is not only a global leader in kitchen and bathroom products, but they are also an inspiring leader in environmentally sustainable business practices. Kohler believes that better business and a better environment go hand in hand. Providing the Cool Choices sustainability engagement program to their employees helps reinforce these ideals among their workforce, while also inspiring their teams to be part of Kohler’s sustainability successes, and empowering individuals to make sustainable practices part of their daily lives.
More and more, companies are making a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, alongside increased profits. In fact, diligence with the first two can have significant influence with consumers. How entities prioritize and measure the performance of all three is known as a triple bottom line accounting framework. Ultimately, entities want sustainability and social solutions that benefit the triple bottom line—solutions that deliver value to people (customers, employees, and stockholders,) the planet (wise resource use,) while also increasing profits.
In the wake of the US federal government pulling out of the Paris Treaty on Climate Change, cutting the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and reducing national park land, some might wonder what 2018 sustainability trends might look like. However, new entities have emerged to lead the fight to reduce climate change and champion sustainability. We saw more than 2,500 businesses, local governments, colleges and universities, tribal leaders, and faith-based organizations step forward and sign the We Are Still In pledge, committing to tackle climate change, ensure a clean energy future, and uphold the Paris Agreement with or without the help of the federal government. Efforts like We’re Still In demonstrate the power of leadership at all levels.
“The suggestions from building occupants can get pretty overwhelming – how can I be responsive, as you recommend, when we can’t address everything immediately?”
We say it a lot as an explanation of what we do; “we help companies accelerate their corporate sustainability efforts via employee engagement.”
But how exactly does employee engagement accelerate sustainability?
We talk to a lot of sustainability leads and it’s not unusual to hear them say that they feel isolated. As the only one advocating for conservation, the lead may feel no one else really “gets” the many ways sustainability leads to profitability. Too often, sustainability professionals are seen as separate and distinct from the primary functions of the organization, they do not have a seat at the table, and they feel isolated or that they are perceived as “policing.”
While the US government scales back its response to climate change, businesses are taking the lead in reducing resource use, cutting emissions and eliminating landfill waste. There are nearly constant headlines about the efforts of big companies—from Apple’s efforts to transition from newly mined minerals to recycling used components to Unilever’s overall leadership that helps it attract and retain talent—examples abound.
In a few weeks, several Cool Choices staff will attend the annual Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) conference. This will be my ninth time attending the annual BECC conference and I look forward to this event every year because for me, BECC is reinforcing, challenging and inspirational.
In September I’ll present at the World Energy Engineering Congress in Atlanta. I’ll present on Engaging Employees to Maximize Savings: A Cool Approach as part of a session titled How to Stop Misbehaving to Save Energy and Money. The session title suggests that the priority is to stop bad behavior; here at Cool Choices, though, we focus on identifying, amplifying and multiplying good behavior.
It’s really about the frame.