The entire organisation needs to be on board for a company to reach its climate goals. But how do you make the goal a part of every employee's routine? That’s the million-dollar question!
A climate strategy defines how an organisation plans to reduce its climate impact and effect on climate change. A climate strategy can include, for example, the company’s actions to reduce its emissions and actions for reducing emissions in its value chain. Ideally, it also includes measures for increasing the company’s carbon handprint (or positive climate impact), thus allowing the company to contribute to the 1.5°C goal and net-zero ambitions beyond its own operations.
An organisation's climate strategy is an important tool that can significantly reduce its climate impact. Implementing the climate strategy, however, requires both the management and the employees' commitment and increased competence, which can make operations more efficient and have a broader impact on climate change.
Stakeholders' expectations and complying with current and upcoming regulations are simple reasons why implementing your climate strategy is imperative.
However, after an organisation has calculated its carbon footprint and knows where it stands, what comes next? The challenge is often in recognising the best ways to reach your climate goals. Much of the sustainability team's time often goes to understanding the current situation and reporting, not leaving enough time for implementation — this is especially true for smaller organisations.
See below for six ways companies can take climate action and closer to their climate goals:
You can incentivise your management by tying their financial incentives to climate objectives. For example, Stora Enso started including ESG targets as a part of their reward system to its management, in addition to traditional financial targets.
Make an effort to choose a supplier who demonstrates good environmental practices and come up with financial incentives for them, for example, by offering better deals for factories that do so.
Some companies have started offering their partners financial incentives linked to climate goals. For example, Spark Sustainably had a project with Moomin Characters, where scenarios were investigated in which license partners would be given bigger royalty fees if they took action on climate (e.g., by using renewable energy in their factories) .
Taking care of your company's reputation and gaining the trust of customers and partners is essential because consumers simply expect companies and brands to address climate change. Adapt to the requests of clients and customers, who have become increasingly aware of sustainability issues and are therefore demanding more climate-friendly products and services.
Studies show that employees want to work for an organisation that is part of the solution for a better tomorrow. In a competitive talent market, employees seek organisations with a purpose and want climate-positive action from their employers.
Businesses can find unexpected financial benefits from climate initiatives. According to recent research by Ernst & Young (2022), nearly 70% of more than 500 global companies reported higher-than-expected financial returns on climate initiatives benefiting the planet. Connect emission savings with actual money savings because taking action on climate change allows saving costs. For example, reducing energy use and business travel can reduce costs and carbon emissions.
Companies play a role in raising awareness among their employees and other stakeholders. Educate your employees about climate change and your climate goals, and help them adopt climate-smart working methods and empower them to integrate a sustainable perspective into all processes that drive climate action and innovation in their daily work.
The more employees understand about how different climate actions impact the overall picture, the better the company’s' chances of reducing its carbon footprint and increasing its carbon handprint. This in turn helps getting customers and investors on the company’s side. Partnering with outside organisations and organising in-house contests or campaigns to raise and improve awareness of sustainability issues are great ideas.
Engaged employees make your climate work a fun and effortless part of the day-to-day business! Remember, new habits and actions gradually create the ground for best sustainable practices that individuals reproduce at work and home and pass on to their colleagues and friends. It’s a snowball effect!
When employees are aware of climate issues and the organisation's goals, it leads to better business decisions and everyday life that make more sense in terms of the climate. During the last few years, Spark Sustainability has worked with companies like Neste, Moomin Characters and Rights & Brands to engage employees in reaching sustainability goals and has enabled more than 48 000 climate actions among consumers via the Carbon Donut app.
Spark Sustainability uses data on climate emissions to engage employees, partners and customers in our partners' climate work. We allow employees to contribute to their organisation's climate work in their workplace and offer digital tools highlighting the benefits of climate-smart products.
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