Getting Employees to See Earth Day as Every Day

So, I went back and forth today about whether to post a blog about Earth Day.  We weren’t doing a fancy big external announcement or partnership, so it seemed unnecessary.  However, as I have spent most of my day attending the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship conference here in Boston, I felt more and more that the real story of Earth Day is about the day to day actions, the smaller individual contributions made by employees within organizations that help change a company’s culture and performance over the long term.

The thing that I truly love most about my job is working with people in Intel who are not working “in CSR” or “sustainability.”  They work in finance, supply chain, marketing, the fabs, HR – but they end up finding their way to me or others who have CSR or environment in our titles, asking about how they can contribute to Intel’s sustainability efforts in their day jobs.

Like Lou and Regan who have transformed the way Intel designs and puts on our major conferences and events around the world.

Like Courtney, Sarah and Elisabeth who are leveraging their roles in finance to help us better measure the business impact of our environmental efforts.

Like Brad, from our legal group, who kick-started a project to try to grow algae on the roof of one of our fabs.

Like Gopi who started a new internal sustainability speaker series using our telepresence rooms across our different sites.

We’ve had a number of programs in place at Intel for many years to recognize and incentive our employees to initiate projects to reduce Intel’s environmental footprint and also to help people in the community reduce their impact, including the Sustainability in Action grant program and the Intel Environmental Excellence Awards.  I believe that effectively engaging our employees around our sustainability goals creates business value for Intel in the long term. Aside from generating cost savings while driving down environmental impact (e.g. award-winning Environmental Excellence Award projects generated over $200 million in cost savings in the past three years.), they help with employee pride and our ability to attract new employees.

Watch video on: Intel Sustainability in Action program

Watch video on: Intel Environmental Excellence Awards

There’s a lot of talk these days at CSR industry conferences about the importance of employee engagement around sustainability.  In my view, we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible. We need to think more creatively about ways to effectively integrate sustainability and corporate responsibility factors into people’s day jobs in a meaningful way. We need to share our best practices across our companies – employee engagement needs to match each company’s culture – but the strategies and ideas are applicable across different industries and can be adapted to companies of different sizes. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel on this – we just need to share what’s working to help us all move faster.

So that’s my question for you – what are you doing to make Earth Day an everyday event at your company? What is you best example to share with other companies?

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