Building a Green Workforce

Once company emissions goals have been set, human resource (HR) management may be the key to success. HR departments are valuable due to their knowledge on the workplace, understanding the structure and individuals within it. This allows tailoring of eco-friendly strategies to all employees to ensure engagement. (Peacock, 2007). For these reasons, HR can play a role in motivating the workforce in “sustaining climate-efficient workplace behaviours” (Treuren, 2009) to ensure new climate-friendly practices remain adhered to.

HR planning will be vital for large transitions within businesses aimed at drastic emissions reduction.  HR teams should grow and enrich the workforce, centring this around the reduction of CC contributions, so employees must have the skills and knowledge required to implement the strategies needed to reach these climate goals (Treuren, 2009). Businesses will first need to assess their emissions profile to evaluate opportunity for improvement. Then,  potential internal changes to improve the company’s carbon footprint and create engagement in an eco-friendly culture throughout the organisation, instead of “just in a few forward-thinking executives” (Hoffman, 2014) can be considered. These assessments and strategies will require specialists to conduct the work, which is where the HR team will first need to grow the workforce. This has been seen in companies such as General Electric creating a sustainable working culture through their hiring and training practices (Confino, 2014), however a lot of companies have not begun doing this so it’s an important step to be undertaken in the near future to allow climate goals to be reached.

Experiencing this first hand by becoming part of the ‘Green Consultants’ team at University has provided insight into how a team employed to improve an organisations carbon footprint can be beneficial, reiterating the importance of an HR team with a well-informed CC standpoint.



Confino, J. (2014, April 30). Best practices in sustainability: Ford, Starbucks and more. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Hoffman, A. (2014, February). Strategies companies are using to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Retrieved November 11, 2016, from

Peacock, L. (2007, June 11). Climate change initiatives in the workplace: How can HR turn words into actions? Retrieved November 11, 2016, from Employment Law Features,

Treuren, G. (2009, November 3). The role of HR in managing climate change in the workplace. Retrieved November 11, 2016, from

Featured Image: Miller, C. (2011, June 27). Eco-friendly document management software. Retrieved November 11, 2016, from Ways 2 Go Green,


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