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6 Sustainability-Minded Benefits Your Employees Will Love

Eliza Erskine November 26, 2019

Share sustainability with employees by offering benefits that are either sustainability-focused or have sustainable byproducts. Benefits like volunteer days, lunch-and-learns, and sustainability budgets all help employees understand and live out their role in helping the environment.

Commuter and bike share benefits and employer-sponsored sustainable investment saving vehicles directly benefit the environment. Incorporate these as part of an overall sustainability strategy, or to get a program started.

Communicate these benefits as you would any other new policy. Some might need to be researched and checked before you announce them to employees. Others can be started today. Make sure that the goals, communication, and timelines are clear for each of these.

1. Employer-Sponsored Savings Plan with Sustainable Investment

Your company probably offers a 401k. Adding a sustainable investment option shows employees that you’re engaged in sustainable values by offering the option to invest in companies that match your values. Employee engagement around sustainable investing has been increasing. You can read more about the benefits of offering this type of plan here.

2. Time Off to Volunteer

Giving employees time off to volunteer is a great way to engage with the community. It also proves that you are indeed a conscious company. Volunteer time off can be done in groups, company-wide, or individually. Determine how much time you will give each employee to volunteer and how they report the time spent volunteering.

3. Donation Matching

Matching donations encourages employees to donate to causes they care about. The donation recipient also benefits from your company’s generosity. By matching, an employer is empowering its employees to continue to donate.

Guide employees in donation matching by providing details on the amount that will be matched, acceptable places to donate to, the process to complete the matching donation, and any deadlines to receive the match. Track and report matching at the end of the year, including the locations that received donations.

4. Sustainability Budgets

As you engage with employees about sustainability topics and initiatives, consider providing each team or group with a sustainability budget. The budget lets employees try a new sustainability idea or take action on an existing problem. The budget can come from savings from environmental initiatives or a predetermined amount from management.

Let employees be creative with these budgets, as long as they fit the values you’ve allocated to sustainability. Some ideas include money for food waste pickup, water bottles for a team, hand dryer replacement in employee restrooms or carbon offsets for team travel.

5. Lunch-and-Learns

Lunch and learns are enormously flexible. They can be everything from formal speakers coming in to talk about environmental landscaping to a lunchtime movie club. Set up a suggestion box and volunteer box for those that want to lead lunch and learns or for those that have an idea for a satisfying session.

Employees should be engaged around a particular topic and then pair their lunch with the discussion topic. Ideas include financial literacy, health and wellness, nutrition, budgeting, and travel planning. Don’t be afraid to have less learning heavy lunch and learns too! Football, random holidays or books are all fun lunch and learn topics.

This is a great opportunity to provide a free benefit to employees. Encourage them to bring their lunch and have an employee talk about something they are familiar with. Employees can also talk about books or even an article they read.

6. Commuter Benefits

Offering commuter benefits to use that use public transportation or bicycles is an environmentally beneficial practice. Take it a step further by having each employee count or estimate the miles of driving they saved by their public transit commuting. Add the miles up and share with employees to encourage others to join, and tout environmental benefits.

Equity and Inclusion / Leadership
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