Jun 21, 2023

Employees involved in climate action

Climate action is needed so that the Earth remains viable for future generations. The change in business operations is a key part of the sustainability breakthrough. More and more companies are implementing climate measures, for example by measuring and reducing the carbon footprint of their products. Less attention has been paid to how climate actions permeate the entire organization. What is the opportunity for employees to influence and be involved in implementing the organization's climate actions?

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health's Climate Change and Work survey examined wage earners' perceptions of climate change in working life. The results of the study show that climate action has the support of employees, and they want to be part of the solution.

The majority of employees in Finland feel that actions to curb climate change are also the responsibility of the workplace. Well over half also hope that there would be more discussion at the workplace about what their own workplace can do in terms of climate change mitigation. The results of the study give a strong message that climate action is also considered important among employees and they expect action from their workplace. Climate actions should scale from strategies to everyday practices, because employees want to do them.

There are many ways to involve employees in the organization's climate work. Climate measures are implemented, for example, by training personnel on topics related to climate change. By asking about employees' ideas and skills, the company's management and other personnel can get new ideas for the organization's climate actions. Training, repetition of information and the example of the management ensure that climate measures become established in everyday life also among employees.

According to our research, employee participation in climate work is still rare. Only a quarter of the respondents told about joint development of climate-friendly operating methods at their workplace. Only 13 percent of workplaces have offered training on climate change or its mitigation to employees. Every tenth workplace has inquired about the employees' already existing climate competence. Employees still have a lot of untapped potential.

Employees are interested and want to learn more about the climate measures at their workplace. They want to be involved in creating a more climate-resistant future. I would like to encourage every company leader to think about the effects of their own organization on the climate and the environment from a broad perspective and to involve their personnel in building a future-proof working life.

The knowledge that one's workplace carries out climate actions, in which the employee can also participate in everyday work, can ease climate concerns. The opportunities for influence at work also increase its meaning.

The survey results have already been published in the Työelämätieto service of the National Institute of Occupational Health. The results can offer more ideas about how your organization could implement climate actions with employees.

 

Author:

Researcher Fanni Moilanen,
Institute of Occupational Health (fanni.moilanen@ttl.fi)