How To Get Employees Behind Your Sustainability Plan 

Last week, Giki had the pleasure of participating in a dynamic session at Reset Connect on how to get employees behind your sustainability plans. We were joined by Alexis Munro, Climate Reporting and Communications Lead at NatWest Group, who shared invaluable insights into their journey towards sustainability and how they have successfully engaged their employees in this crucial mission. 

NatWest’s Ambition for Net Zero 

NatWest Group’s starting point for their Transition Plan was acknowledging the ambition to be net zero and the need to achieve it with credibility and transparency. This commitment underscores the importance of not just setting ambitious goals but also developing a clear, actionable plan to reach them. 

For their own operation*, NatWest Group conducted a thorough materiality assessment. This assessment helped identify what actions could be taken immediately and what areas required more long-term efforts. This systematic approach enables their sustainability initiatives are grounded in practicality and relevance, making them more effective and credible. 

Engaging employees through clear communication 

Engagement with colleagues has been a critical component of NatWest Group’s own operations strategy. Alexis emphasised the importance of clear and consistent communication to demystify sustainability concepts. The use of infographics and informal gatherings, such as coffee mornings, have been instrumental in making the information accessible and engaging for employees. These efforts help to foster a culture of sustainability within the organisation.

Working with suppliers and Upskilling Teams 

NatWest Group has extended its own operations sustainability efforts beyond internal stakeholders to include their suppliers, working closely with them to engage with sustainability and decarbonisation. By utilising platforms like EcoVadis, they assess and engage suppliers on their sustainability practices. Furthermore, they focus on upskilling both their internal teams, such as procurement, and their suppliers. This mutual learning process not only enhances NatWest Group’s sustainability credentials but also encourages broader industry progress. 

Leveraging their sustainability network 

Another innovative strategy discussed was the use of the Employee Led Network, the sustainability network within the company. This network of thousands of employees, serves as a platform to spread the word about sustainability initiatives and successes, further embedding these values into the corporate culture. By leveraging this network, NatWest Group embeds sustainability as a continuous conversation rather than a series of isolated actions. 

Implementation through smaller tasks 

When it comes to implementation, Alexis advised breaking down the daunting task of achieving net zero into smaller, manageable parts. By using the materiality lens, NatWest Group own operations prioritises actions based on their significance and impact. For example, focusing on installing LEDs and building management systems (BMSs) to improve energy efficiency. This approach not only makes the task less overwhelming but also allows for measurable progress over time. 

Sustainability beyond the workplace 

Employees play a pivotal role in sustainability ambitions, but it is not without its challenges. Alexis shared insights on overcoming these hurdles, the need for clear communication, education, and creating a sense of ownership among employees. By addressing these challenges head-on, NatWest Group has managed to build a committed and informed workforce that is essential to achieving their net zero ambition. 

By empowering employees to apply what they learn at work to their personal lives, NatWest aims to create a ripple effect that extends the impact of their sustainability initiatives beyond the workplace. 

NatWest Group’s journey provides valuable lessons for any organisation looking to engage employees in their sustainability plans. By breaking down the process, leveraging internal networks, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and engagement, organisations can make significant strides towards their sustainability goals. At Giki, we are inspired by these insights and look forward to helping more companies on their path to a sustainable future. 

* Scope 1, location-based Scope 2, and Scope 3 Categories 1 – 14 excluding Categories 8, 10 and 14 as these are not applicable.