Is HR really ready to take on the green challenge?

We forget that the majority of employees are actually environmentally sensitive and responsible in their private lives, and yet, when they walk into our offices, it appears they leave personal values at the front door (‘HR needs to champion sustainability initiatives’, Editors’ Blog, 21 April).

We make no comment on the lack of recycling bins we are seemingly oblivious to the various air-con systems blowing air into unused meeting rooms lights left on when rooms are not being used go without remark.

The fact that these are all actionable measures which would actually save the company money as well as being environmentally responsible, make this situation all the more remarkable since – as joint stakeholders in the business – we all profit from the positive actions of our employer.

There is a very important point in all of this, though. At Greenaction, we constantly strive to help businesses go green (encompassing corporate social responsibility and sustainability) and it can be frustratingly slow work, despite the fact that we implement measures which guarantee not to cost the company money. It had never occurred to me to approach HR as a single point of engagement.

However, I do still question whether HR sees itself in that capacity, rather than the traditional view of being the enforcer of legislation and (in the light of recent economic trends) executor of redundancy procedures.

Is HR empowered within an organisation to adopt this role? Does it want to? Are there sufficient resources available to HR professionals to enable them to make a difference and exert influence should they wish to take up this challenge?

Peter Wognum, development director, Greenaction

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