Green HRM Practices | 7 steps to attain competitive advantage

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Green HRM has become one of the emerging trends in western countries and companies are striving to inculcate Green HR policies to create a competitive edge.

Companies are likely to develop a powerful social conscience and green sense of responsibility as consumers today demand ethical and environmental credentials as a top priority. Societal and business agendas are thus likely to align.

Companies going Green:

1. McDonald’sgreen

The company uses energy-efficient appliances thereby cutting energy wastage by 25% during their business activities.

2. Microsoftgreen

CEO Sathya Nadella stated in a recent interview that the company will go carbon negative by 2030.

3. Dellgreen

Dell allows customers to give back any Dell-branded equipment to the company for free which encourages safe disposal and reduces the overall e-waste count.

4. Bank of America

greenWithin five years, the bank was able to cut its paper requirements by 32%.

5. Starbucksgreen

Initiatives include bean-to-cup approach and the ingenious use of recycled coffee grounds in the making of their coffee tables.

The green business encourages using less natural resources to complete the tasks needed by using sustainable methods such as recycling (paper, plastic, electronics, glass, and aluminum) and using sustainable products (recycled, plant-based, or organically grown).

Green business activity is a business activity that leaves no negative ecological impacts and contributes to the welfare of the environment and natural resources in some way.

HR and its significance:

With environmental concerns at the helm of all business decisions, the role of HR is likely to transform greatly and Green HR is foreseen to dominate the future of all corporations. Green HR strategy is primarily used to reduce the carbon footprint of each employee and by the talent retention process.

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It involves undertaking environmental-friendly HR policies that result in greater efficiencies, lower costs, and better employee engagement and retention programs which will reduce the carbon footprint emitted by the whole organization by initiatives such as car sharing, electronic filing, teleconferencing, virtual interviews, online training, recycling, etc.

Need for going green:

The past decade has foreseen significant environmental calamities and disruptions such as Climate change, Raising sea level, Ozone depletion, Volcanic eruptions, Hazardous pollution that have caused serious and life-threatening damage to the planet earth and human life.

While essential natural resources such as air, water, coal, etc are depleting at a constant rate there is a question of whether there will be enough resources to be utilized for the future generations to come.

Due to globalization, several companies have made enough damage to nature and this is the time to take responsibility for all the consequences. Companies can also develop a competitive edge and attract more talents which is a win-win situation for both the company and the environment.

Hence, there is a need for practicing sustainable business practices to enhance human life and to protect our planet.

Initiatives that can be taken by the HR department:

Learning & Development

1. Start by measuring the carbon emission of your organization which would indicate the criticality level to take actions. Carbon emissions results from everyday life activities and they release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide, etc which are hazardous to our environment and are a cause for climate change.

Carbon emissions can be measured using online calculators that require specifications such as the company’s total LPG consumed, distance traveled by vehicles per month, electricity consumed, etc.

2. Have your company newsletter to send mails to increase awareness about environmental issues. Awareness is the initial step required to start a good cause.

Employee induction – During the program, indicate them about the company’s energy consumption initiatives and encourage them to come up with new ways to reduce waste and becoming more eco friendly.

3. Conduct training programs that would educate the employees about waste reduction. Online training programs should be encouraged.

4. Reward and encourage employees and departments that come up with new opportunities and innovative ideas in their jobs to help their company processes more sustainable. Reward those people by offering a “go green” badge.

5. Watch your paper usage- Going paperless is the future reality, companies can document records and send communications digitally that could save up lots of paper.

6. Corporate gardens with natural pesticides and fertilizers- Every office should maintain greening of office premises with gardens. There should be HR policies for the participation of employees for gardening; by contributing manure or attending to a certain plant area of the garden.

7. Stop sending unwanted mails

60.5 spam emails x 0.3 g CO2e = 18.5 g CO2e
30.25 standard emails x 4 g CO2e = 121 g CO2e
30.25 emails with attachments x 50 g CO2e = 1512.5 g CO2e

This means that a days’ worth of emails received is equal to 1,652 g CO2e… And that one year’s worth of emails received equals 603,393 g CO2e = 0.593863329 or 0.6 tonnes CO2e.

To put this into perspective, the total yearly carbon footprint of the average person living in India is approx 1.5 tonnes CO2e

Britain has made it a policy to not send thank you mails in the country which ended up saving tonnes and tonnes of carbon footprint.

Educate more employees about working methods that allow to reduce waste, save energy and resources – e.g. recycling, turning lights off, or shutting down laptops.

Establish the development of green social skills.

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