New sustainability initiatives introduced into organisations require clear communications and energetic support from all levels of employees. This article explores the benefits of enlisting individuals within organisations (known as Champions) who can enthusiastically support and lead initiatives to bring about changes in company thinking and enable organisational change. These Champions emotionally and materially support ideas and projects and will sell these ideas to both the company and to the wider public.
As with all programs that require behavioural change across the organisation, programs require strong leadership from above and energetic engagement from the Champions at the shop floor.
The Champions often work in different parts of the organisation and operate in a loose network than transcends the organisation’s hierarchy.
Generation Y individuals in particular, are identified as a group capable of being effective Champions and will lead action within their organisation. Generation Y’s thrive on meaningful responsibilities and appreciate the opportunity to provide input into the decision-making processes.
Regular feedback, updates and continual promotional events are necessary to keep both the Champion and other employees motivated and involved in the sustainability programmes.
Organisations with well-defined sustainability programs are also more attractive to the younger prospective employees.
Formulating an integrated organisational response to climate change is becoming an essential activity for most large organisations in Australia today. Sustainability champions not only reach people both inside and outside the company, but they can also make long-lasting and positive improvements to the business. In this way, organisations have the potential to both reduce their impact on the environment and bring more value to their shareholders and their customers.