The Engaged Organization (March 2009)
Welcome from Ken Strassner and Diane Wood
This report [The Engaged Organization] addresses what we believe is a very timely topic in the evolution of the business-environment nexus. When the modern U.S. environmental movement began in the 1970s, it relied largely on regulation to reduce negative environmental impacts. Companies responded by creating centers of environmental expertise within their organizations.
The major focus of a second wave of corporate environmentalism, which began during the late 1980s, was on demonstrating the business value of environmental sustainability to the executive suite. We are now in a third phase in which leading companies recognize that greening their products and operations is a source of value and that all employees must be engaged in the effort to ensure its success. In the 21st century, all jobs are green jobs.
Businesses already know that environmental education matters. Environmentally educated employees can improve a business’ bottom line. In tough economic times, sustainability practices save money and reduce impact on the environment.
The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) set out to explore the current landscape — how far we’ve come in this third phase — by researching how companies are engaging and educating their employees on environmental issues. This report contains findings of NEEF’s groundbreaking survey and case studies.
The results of the survey and case studies suggest that environmental education is becoming standard practice at many companies though clearly there is no one-size-fits-all model. Most promising is how many companies see that environment and sustainability (E&S) knowledge is valuable, particularly for new hires, and expect it to increase in importance as a hiring factor.
This is an opportune time for companies to share best practices related to employee environmental education and learn from one another. Through this report and other activities, we seek to share the learning and promote further progress.
We hope you find the findings presented in the report useful, and welcome your feedback.
Vice-President, Global Environment,
Safety, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs,
Kimberly-Clark Corporation and
Business & Environment Program Advisory Committee Chair
President, National Environmental Education Foundation