How to encourage employee engagement in your Race to Zero 

The Race to Zero is global campaign rallying nations, industries, and individuals to unite in the fight against climate change. But there is an often over-looked group who can also play a significant role – employees.  

That is why we at Giki are running a global Employee Race to Zero competition, a month of fun challenges to help engage your employees and accelerate your Race to Zero commitments. 

In our recent webinar, hosted by our co-founder Jo Hand, we spoke to Tessa Ferry, who leads the UN-backed Race to Zero, and Carolyn Ball, Director for Delivery of Net Zero at Compass UK&I, to discuss why employee engagement is fast becoming a crucial part of net zero delivery and the best techniques to achieve it. 

Tessa, what is the Race to Zero and the role of employees? 

“Race to Zero is a global campaign that tries to mobilise non-state actors across the spectrum (businesses, cities, regions, finance, healthcare providers, academia) to set and then commit and deliver net-zero targets. As well as having our members committing to net zero, we also work with a range of organisations called accelerators, like Giki, who are looking at what other levers need to be in place to get to net-zero. What is the role of everybody in society? Because not everybody is in a position to set net zero targets, such as employees. So how do we create this ecosystem of action and how does everybody come together in a way that we move forward collectively to get to the aims that we want to do?” 

“Last year we added a new pillar in our Race to Zero – Persuade. It’s an important criteria that helps organisations align their policy and engagement activity, recognising that individuals have different roles to play. We’ve published a handbook to help with this.” 

Carolyn, how do you go about engaging your employees? 

“Getting everyone to feel increasingly curious about how they can see their role through a climate lens is fundamental. The true transitionary piece comes by engaging everyone in their roles and learning from those disciplines.” 

Carolyn, What are some of the barriers? 

“One of the biggest bits of feedback that we’ve had increasingly is that everyone across their different disciplines wants to support and find out how they can provide some meaningful work in contribution to the decarbonization that we’ve committed to. But they find it increasingly the case that they’re bumping into questions or encountering scenarios where sometimes the way forward isn’t particularly clear cut. And so, where do we build knowledge and show that actually, this work is something everyone should want to run towards, as opposed to feeling intimidated by.” 

Jo explained the Employee Race to Zero 

“It is a global competition for employees to accelerate their sustainable behaviours through a month of fun challenges, covering different sustainability themes that will inspire, upskill and engage. A great way to bring a broader group into sustainability, people who don’t necessarily think about it all day, every day. A chance to create useful data and great stories around successes and start engaging employees around the idea that we all can be part of the climate solution. Any member of the Race to Zero can nominate a team to take part. You can submit teams of between 5-50 employees and have multiple teams competing. The race runs from 6-24th November in the lead-up to COP28.” 

Carolyn, Why have Compass signed up for the Employee Race to Zero? 

“I like the fact that it allows everyone to feel quite rightly, empowered and inspired to contribute and look at their footprints and collectively assess how we can move forward, not only as a corporation but as a community. I think it is really rare that we have opportunities to collectively come together in this way that allows us to mobilise at this scale in a space that feels truly in pursuit of what the objective is and is appealing, both from an overarching leadership perspective, but also as every single individual who wants to come to work for an organisation they feel is aligned with their values.” 

“Just by empowering through better information, better accessibility of information, and trusting the data that underpins it. So, people feel like they’re learning from information that can be relied upon. I think that the substantive element is important. A race without foundation wouldn’t be one we would want to join. A race with rigour feels incredibly exciting and we’ll give it our best shot.” 

Tessa, why are you behind the Employee Race to Zero? 

“I think the employee Race Zero is a nice way of recognising change when it’s happening, promoting the good stories that are out there, and providing a platform to share and to provide hope that change is possible. Allowing everybody to be involved in this conversation, in this race.” 

You can view the full webinar here. To sign up your team for the Employee Race to Zero, you can register and find out more information here.