Green HR: A Secret for Sustainability

GREENHRThe effort towards “Green HR” is creating a buzz in the business world. The environment we create today is a cradle for the future generation, thus efforts are required to make it cleaner, safer, greener, and sustainable An effort made once, will surely make a difference. But if it sustains, it will revolutionize the world.

You will be amazed to know that the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface in a minute can solve the world’s energy problem for a year, the energy cost for manufacturing a single computer is more than using it all the years, even a single aluminum can when recycled saves adequate electricity to power a television for 3 hours, and by recycling a ton of paper you can save up to 17 trees and 7000 gallons of water. Though the list is unending but the efforts made are few in number.

“Going Green” is the latest trend corporate is following to attract and retain talent. They are adopting greener and sustainable ways to reduce cost and at the same time saving the environment. For instance, a leading retail chain is supplying 100 percent renewable energy and helps in reducing carbon footprints through zero waste. Another Indian company started a movement to reduce the impact of business on environment by providing environment training to employees and conducting energy audits every three years.

Green HR aims at preservation of knowledge capital through additional incentives and perks along with eco-friendly HR policies and practices. The functionality of the HR department starts with the hunt for the right talent. So, green HR is now looking towards green collared jobs or employees. Green collar employees are environmentally concerned employees who direct their activities towards reducing their individual carbon footprints2. But the most imperative thing to understand is how HR practices will contributes towards “Green Organization”.

One such Canadian company motivates employees to travel by public transport by providing an extra $90 per month, thus reducing pollution caused by personal vehicles. Some of the companies are involved in recycling and reusing of waste products, using eco-friendly products, organizing virtual meetings to reduce travel cost and resultant pollution, using automatic light system which shuts down when not in use, etc.

At Infosys, an India based IT Company, the team of engineers worked towards designing a building with more sustainable cooling system (Radiant Cooling) replacing air conditioners, which consumes almost 40% of their electricity. This resulted in 33% saving in energy consumption.

Let’s now take a snapshot of how one can make HR functions green and attain sustainability?

  • Promoting online resumes for recruitment and procurement, to reduce printing and usage of paper
  • Selection criteria should comprise of factors to judge green efforts by an individual
  • Induction program should introduce new employees with ways to reduce waste and benefits of green working conditions
  • Include “green targets” as one of the indicators to judge performance and appraising employees
  • Training and development session must include seminars and workshops on topics like waste management, energy efficiency, etc.
  • Reward and recognize employees with initiatives towards environmental sustainability
  • Provide extra compensation and perks to employees for eco-friendly initiatives

Apart from these, companies are now-a-days adopting following measures to “Go Green”:

  • Paperless organization (Electronic filing) and less printing of paper
  • Meetings through video-conferencing and telecommuting, thus reducing travelling cost
  • Promoting the use of public transport or eco friendly vehicles like bicycle
  • Car pooling and sharing
  • Work from home provisions to reduce commutation
  • Waste management through recycling and reusing
  • Use of energy saving light like CFL, etc.

Educational institutes are making effort towards the green HR initiatives and are rolling their sleeves up to contribute through various online programs. At ITM University Online, one can learn and study anywhere, anytime. Under its Online MBA program it gives opportunity to students to educate themselves through online notes, discussion forums, etc. without being physically present at the institute. This results in reduction of the cost of commuting, pollution, use of paper, printing, etc.

Thus, by implementing these small changes you can bring about a revolution. So, are you ready to “Go Green” and contribute your bit towards your organization, your environment, and above all for yourself using Green HR initiatives.