Being consumers themselves, employees lend credibility to business values with insights into sustainable work practices.- File pic

The environment and climate change are high on the public agenda. Around the world, millions of people are taking to the streets demanding action on climate change.

Closer to home, the haze caused many to realise that climate change needs to be addressed.

Consumers are among those at the forefront of this fight.

Not only are they more aware of the brands and products they choose to consume, they also choose to engage and buy products from businesses that prioritise sustainability initiatives.

Research findings from business solutions provider CGS revealed that a third of consumers globally (35 per cent) are willing to pay more for sustainable products, with 28 per cent having brand loyalty to companies with sustainable business practices.

Businesses, too, have a moral obligation to protect Earth.

We have the ability to do so through the products we create and market.

The initiatives that we implement as part of a corporate social responsibility agenda play an important role in our fight against climate change.

But beyond that, businesses have a valuable asset that can drive real change: our employees.

By encouraging sustainability in the workplace, we create a shift that brings out the humanity in business, and employees are the best group of people to do so.

Not only do they know their companies best — right from how the business operates to where the inefficiencies lie — they are also the face of a business.

Being consumers themselves, they lend credibility and passion to a business’ values and beliefs, and know what sustainability practices work best for the business and those that consumers want to see.

With sustainability embedded in our DNA, our employees at Wipro Consumer Care are empowered to drive company-wide initiatives to make the business a sustainable one.

In Indonesia, our employees used the unused space surrounding one of our factories and transformed it into a biodiversity park to bring birds back into the area.

In Malaysia, the team stopped bringing in food in Styrofoam or plastic packaging to reduce the waste generated from these materials.

Such employee-driven initiatives are important to not only make a business more sustainable for the environment, but also result in employee engagement and hence, a greater willingness to contribute ideas to how businesses can live true to their values.

Understanding from the top-down is key.

To help encourage employee-led sustainability initiatives, decision-makers must recognise the value in how they drive results for the long term.

Sustainability initiatives can have a positive impact on brand image, employee engagement and productivity and eventually, a business’ reputation.

The value placed in these initiatives must be beyond the investment required, as the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term impact on the bottom line.

Ultimately, the transformation to sustainable ways of working is a journey that involves everyone in a business.

The environment is everyone’s responsibility and it is on every individual, whether you are an employee or a decision-maker, to create a sustainable future.

Kumar Chander

President, Southeast Asia and Middle East and North Asia region, Wipro Consumer Care