7 Ways Recruiters Can Help the Environment
We celebrate the 47th anniversary of Earth Day in America on April 22. Earth Day was established in 1970 in days when bald eagles were threatened with extinction, and our air and water quality was so poor that it endangered the health of our families.
We have come a long way to improve our air, water, and precious natural resources, but there is much more that we can do and there are headwinds. The environmental professionals and engineers that you recruit and hire aren’t the only persons that can help the environment.
Recruiters and human resource professionals can do a lot to help the environment. Here are seven ways to improve the natural environment for our communities and our families, children, and grandchildren:
- Recruit and retain the best environmental professionals and engineers that have the strongest credentials, superior ethics, and business savvy to guide the success of your organization’s environmental programs. Successful environmental programs depend on long-term efforts by professionals who are committed to continuous environmental improvement. High staff turnover stifles environmental efforts and makes an organization appear less committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability. That appearance causes environmental regulatory agencies to take a harder look at your organization which costs your company more in environmental compliance costs.
- Train the professionals you hire. Environmental and sustainability management is not an exact science, and the environmental staff needs to stay current with the latest laws and technologies to ensure both legal compliance and environmental improvement. The National Association of Environmental Professionals (naep.org), National Association of Environmental Management (naem.org), and Air & Waste Management Association (awma.org) are three excellent professional associations with continuing education programs and networking conferences and training webinars for environmental professionals.
- Engage in your organization’s environmental sustainability management. Many companies and agencies are implementing an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS). ISO 14001 EMS is the international standard that companies use to achieve sustainability and compliance goals, build business and increase profits. Environmental Protection magazine stated that a core element of a successful EMS is developing/having skilled human resources appropriate to meet business goals. That element of a successful environmental management system is important, and you have a great opportunity to make a difference in your role.
- Lead corporate social responsibility and sustainability efforts for your department. There are a number of corporate social responsibility and sustainability tools available to organizations. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) (USGBC.org) and Ceres Principles (Ceres.org) are two examples. Many consumers are choosing products from socially responsible companies, and you can make a difference when participating in sustainability planning for your organization. For example, operating out of LEED-certified green offices/buildings as a strong indicator for being a sustainability leader.
- Purchase “green” office supplies. Now, more than ever, there are thousands of products and office supplies that are made from recycled materials, or from “earth-friendly” materials. Many of these products (recycled printer ink cartridges, mouse pads, paper, etc) cost no more than standard supplies. Green purchasing is a tremendous way to reduce air and water pollution (from manufacturing from raw materials) and reduces waste going to landfills. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an Energy Star program that sets standards that computer and other equipment manufacturers must meet to be identified as an energy efficient, environmentally-friendly item.
- Promote office car pooling, mass transit, flex work schedules and telecommuting. This will help reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. Again, many of these employee benefits also benefit your organization as they count towards your corporate sustainability rating. And, as you know, these benefits are great morale boosters that help you recruit and retain top talent.
- Reward employees who suggest ways improve environmental performance which improves saves on the company’s bottom line profits or organization’s budget. Recognition for those who excel in cost-effective environmental sustainability is key – after all, many environmental professionals chose that career because they wanted to make a difference too.
You are well on your way to saving money for your organization and ensuring a safe, healthy environment for everyone. Thank you. Have a happy Earth Day every day!
About the author: John Esson has over 30 years of experience as an environmental professional, recruitment leader, and environmental careers coach. He is the founder/director of the Environmental Career Center which operates EnvironmentalCareer.com that attracts over 70,000 environmental professionals, biologists, and engineers each month. John also served seven years as chair of the Career Development Committee for the National Association of Environmental Professionals.
This article was first published April 20, 2017.