Toward Engagement 2.0

This report, the third produced by NEEF’s Business & Environment Program, examines how leading companies are moving toward a more strategic approach to employee engagement in corporate sustainability activities by creating a culture of sustainability throughout their firms.

In this report, the reader will find company case studies and examples in practice, as well as practitioner-focused “how to” boxes about assessing corporate culture, making the business case and delivering value through employee engagement. Highlights from the case studies include:

  • Baxter’s World Environment Week grants employees direct permission to take sustainability action. In 2010, Baxter employees in more than 70 facilities in 25 countries sponsored local events for Baxter World Environment Week focused on water conservation. This sense of permission and empowerment positively contributes to the company’s ability to achieve its environmental goals and reductions in energy, greenhouse gas emissions, waste and water usage.
  • Numerous examples in practice of how companies are educating and engaging their employees using green teams, social media, volunteerism and awards and incentives programs.
  • Stonyfield Farm and Walmart empower employees to take action at work, as well as at home and in their communities, resulting in reductions in company energy use (per ton of product) of more than 22 percent and 500,000 associates engaged in voluntary sustainability efforts.
  • At J.C. Penney, corporate social responsibility and human resources managers collaborate to embed sustainability into the corporate culture through resource teams, new employee orientation and training, alignment in communication related to corporate sustainability goals and an annual survey.
  • Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) evaluates employee engagement through an annual survey and tracks a number of indicators that measure employee engagement, such as employee volunteer hours and participation in employee-led groups that help foster diversity and inclusion, such as a growing grassroots green network. PG&E also measures progress toward five-year targets for reducing energy, water and waste in its facilities—important initiatives whose success hinges on employee engagement and participation.