Strategies for Internal Engagement and Alignment
Environmental Defense Fund
Making progress towards climate goals will require the engagement and alignment of executives and employees and the creation of new structures, teams and incentives. If you are leading on climate within your company, you’ll like need to play the role of connector, to ensure that all relevant groups and business functions are coordinating and incentivized to contribute to the company’s climate goals.
These are the essentials components of the internal planning and engagement needed to make real progress on corporate climate goals.
Executives shape strategy, allocate resources and inspire action. To win their support for climate initiatives, highlight the business benefits such as increased revenue, cost savings, enhanced brand image, competitive edge, risk reduction and investor confidence.
To ensure executive commitment, integrate climate goals into the overall company strategy. Success on climate hinges on embedding it into a company’s culture, values, mission statement and strategic objectives, making it clear that sustainability is a core value and integral to operations and strategy.
All levels and functions play a role in advancing climate goals. To build a cross-functional team, involve relevant stakeholders, executives, and advisors in goal setting and project planning. Key functions to engage include procurement, finance, government relations, operations, and legal, with possible involvement from marketing, sales, and human resources.
Once key projects and team members are identified, create roles and governance for climate goal integration. Offer training, encourage open communication, and ensure that the team has necessary resources to complete the projects. Monitor progress and reward teams with bonuses, promotions or public recognition.
Establishing an effective organizational structure, accountability, policies and incentives are essential to reach corporate climate goals. They ensure that everyone understands the importance of climate goals and how their roles and responsibilities contribute to reaching them.
Accountability frameworks help to clarify roles and ownership of climate related projects. Effective policies should integrate with core business functions to support climate goals throughout the company. Incentives, such as bonuses, are another essential tool to encourage individuals to maintain focus on meeting the climate goals.
Engaged employees support your climate strategy and are critical to the success of climate initiatives. Younger generations are increasingly concerned with the climate crisis and are seeking out companies that align with their values. Giving employees a voice and ownership in your company’s climate journey can help build engagement across the business and lead to more successful climate projects.
Provide education and training about sustainability, set clear sustainability goals, and involve leaders in advocating for sustainability. Encourage employee feedback and integrate sustainability into decision-making processes. Promote employee-led sustainability initiatives and green teams. Support climate-friendly practices through policies and incentives, and work to create a culture of sustainability within the company.
To learn more and find helpful resources, check out our action step: https://netzeroaction.org/pathways/engage-internal-stakeholders/