Becoming Carbon Neutral: Onboarding HR To Drive Sustainable Change

CoachHub · 19 October 2022 · 5 min read

Becoming carbon neutral on a corporate level is critical in solving the problem of climate change. The organizational shift required to combat climate change is complicated and requires a change in corporate values and directives. For any sustainable change to occur, it’s essential to get buy-in from the human resources department.

Carbon neutrality starts with a culture change

Globally, organizations are beginning to tackle becoming carbon neutral. Usually, they implement strategies centered around day-to-day operations to lower the carbon footprint. However, a sustainable and achievable shift to carbon neutral starts as a change in mindset — a culture shift. That’s because achieving carbon neutrality isn’t just a logistics issue, it traces directly back to corporate culture. That’s why HR is uniquely qualified to spearhead this change.

carbon neutral

 3 strategies for creating a climate change campaign

Bringing HR into discussions around sustainability during the early stages can allow them to help shape the change in corporate values. They can provide tools to help employees with cultural change in the best possible way. These three strategies highlight how HR can turn the vision for a carbon neutral plan into a reality.

1. Assess the organizational landscape

It’s important to understand what individuals in your organization think about climate change. Gauge how their values might align with your vision so that you can successfully initiate your campaign.

  • Gather information: Develop surveys to assess the individual’s feelings toward climate change. Incorporate questions such as: Do you think we should be addressing climate change? What can we do as an organization to lower our carbon footprint? Is there room for improvement on things we are already doing? What are you doing personally to lower your carbon footprint? How would you contribute to a climate change initiative?
  • Assess the results: Through the surveys, three groups of individuals will emerge. One group of individuals that you may hear from are climate change deniers and people who think no changes are needed. The second group of people that could emerge is people who don’t want to be bothered. They aren’t against anything, they just want to do their work and not engage in additional campaigns. A third group that may emerge is people who are passionate about climate change and want to see progress. You may get feedback regarding solutions such as renewable energy, low-emission transportation and waste reduction.

Use the information gained through surveys to tailor your plan of action. Be sure to reflect people’s values to engage them. Concerns about the campaign can be addressed through in-house informational sessions, respected guest speakers and books on the topic.

2. Outline the strategy

Provide materials and training to raise awareness. Keep the plan simple and be sure to include attainable and measurable goals.

  • Develop a road map: Debunk the narrative that climate change is an unsolvable problem. Start by meeting with department heads and outlining the practical changes that will take place. Kick off the strategy with an all-hands meeting. Be sure to outline your goals and set a 30-day check-in. At the 30-day mark meet with key individuals to gauge buy-in. Set a 60-day all-hands meeting to assess progress and give an update on how you are achieving your goals. Make sure to include incentives along the way.
  • Coach individuals through developing new skills: Innovation and change can require new skills. Coach individuals on how to navigate this change and how this may impact their lives. Use coaching as a way to gauge people’s feelings about the ongoing campaign and their involvement. Provide an open channel so that individuals can talk about how this has been affecting their work balance. The culture at work may have shifted, how do they feel about it? Prompt individuals to talk about what’s working and what isn’t.

The world of work has been changing rapidly over the past several years, and it hasn’t always been easy for employees to navigate. With carbon neutrality, you’ll be introducing a new set of changes, and there’s a chance you could run into some change fatigue. You might even encounter pushback when it comes to changes that create anxiety for your employees. Equip your employees with the skills they need to thrive amidst change by supporting them with one-on-one coaching conversations.

3. Activate individuals in the culture shift

Sustainable change comes from within. Use the individuals whose values align with your vision to help lead the charge.

  • Use passions and skills: Activate your culture change leaders by giving them the space to lead initiatives. Use resources earmarked for the climate change campaign to support those initiatives. This can empower those individuals to lead initiatives like biking to work, carpooling and alternative food options for events and offices.
  • Incentivize individual change: Communicate gratitude, a simple ‘thank you for doing your part’ can provide much-needed encouragement. Post at the office about individuals’ success in the campaign and publicly acknowledge them in meetings. Create awards for progress with cost-effective rewards like lunch with the CEO or an extra vacation day. Offer professional development for passionate individuals, and allow them to attend a lecture on climate change.

HR is well-positioned within an organization to empower individuals and implement a successful campaign. Don’t just hand down a directive, equip people with these strategies and back them with the proper resources.

Coaching as a key lever for success in organizational transformation

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Practical tips for going green

Once you have the framework for a carbon neutral campaign, you can start implementing practical steps to reduce your carbon footprint. These changes might include offering employee benefits for taking public transportation or installing designated stations for electric vehicle charging and bike lock-up. You can provide an alternative to single-use coffee cups and other commonplace items. Encourage individuals to recycle and use less water. Use your campaign to educate individuals on how to reduce energy consumption by regulating lighting, and the use of digital meeting spaces over physical ones.

CoachHub’s carbon neutrality

Using a digital coaching platform can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Transitioning from physical to digital eliminates the need for travel and reduces the use of large meeting spaces. The goal isn’t just to avoid future emissions but to reduce current ones. And, because CoachHub is a certified carbon neutral company, partnering with CoachHub for your digital coaching initiatives ensures a smaller carbon footprint in your vendor ecosystem.

CoachHub’s carbon neutral certification is the result of an ongoing collaboration with Planetly by OneTrust. Now, 100% of CoachHubs sessions are remote and run on green servers. It is our desire to engage other organizations to make a difference, contribute to a global shift toward carbon neutrality and have everyone do their part.

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CoachHub is a leading global talent development platform that enables organisations to create personalised, measurable and scalable coaching programmes for the entire workforce, regardless of department and seniority level. By doing so, organisations are able to reap a multitude of benefits, including increased employee engagement, higher levels of productivity, improved job performance and increased retention. CoachHub’s global pool of coaches is comprised of over 3,500 certified business coaches in 90 countries across six continents with coaching sessions available in over 80 languages. Serving more than 1,000 clients worldwide, CoachHub’s innovative coaching programs are based on proprietary scientific research and development from its Innovation Lab. CoachHub is backed by leading tech investors, including Sofina, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Molten Ventures, Speedinvest, HV Capital, Partech and Silicon Valley Bank/SVB CapitalCoachHub is committed to creating a greener future.

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