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HR Has a Huge Role to Play in Global Warming

HR Has a Huge Role to Play in Global Warming

by Frank Roche on August 27, 2008

in Environment


[Photo credit: Maia C]

I’m coming back around to this topic: HR has a huge role to play in global warming.

I’m not saying that HR is full of hot air. (You thought it, right?) Nope, I’m talking about implementing green strategies that will work. I was reading No Impact Man’s “40 Steps on the Personal Path to Green,” which prodded me with ideas. Here are a few that author Colin Beaven lists that I think HR has a huge role in:

  • Drive less.
  • Fly less.
  • Avoid bottled water.
  • Stop your junk mail.
  • Organize your community to lobby state and local officials to pass a suite of laws increasing energy efficiency, clean-tech funding, and public education campaigns.

They all seem so easy and obvious. But wouldn’t it be a much better use of HR’s time to write policies that can save the world instead of ones that punish the single knucklehead who overspent his per diem? This is a place for HR leaders to step up and be counted in business and in the world. Imagine…

Imagine the impact on your company if you changed work hours so that people could leave their cars behind and use public transportation. Four day work weeks, or jobs that let people work from home, use a lot less gas. Every gallon you save is another gallon we don’t have to extract from the earth.

Imagine the impact on your company if you reduced the number of flights your employees take by 10%. Heck, it’d be easy to imagine that 25% of flights could be cut. What’s the use of a one-hour meeting that you have to fly to?

Imagine a campaign to have people drink from the drinking fountains in your building. Honestly, can you imagine what you would have said 20 years ago if you had been told that people would buy water that’s packaged in plastic bottles? Ever wonder how much energy it takes to make that bottle? Or dispose of it?

Imagine the impact on your company if you refused junk mail in all forms — both paper and email. The paper part is about the environment; the email part is about your company environment. Perhaps if employees weren’t spending their time moving from “crisis” to “crisis” they would have time to think bigger thoughts. (That might even make you more money.)

Imagine the impact you, as HR, have on legislation for the environment. It’s easy to get worked up about pay fairness legislation, or Sarbanes-Oxley. How about applying that energy to our planet?

I can imagine, and so can you. Hey, SHRM, if you want to spend some of that ad money touting “Human Resource Professionals” during the political convention, maybe you could invest in “HR Professionals — Helping to Save the Planet.”

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