Employees play a crucial role in addressing climate change. Whether it comes to applying our skills and knowledge toward climate goals, influencing public opinion, investing in climate solutions, or shaping culture and employee behavior, each of us has the capacity to support a more sustainable future.
The nonprofit organization Project Drawdown offers a list of actionable guides that can help you understand how to reduce your carbon footprint using your expertise and available resources at work.
The NGO looks at several job functions such as finance, government relations and public policy, marketing, and HR, and offers simplified checklists to help different professionals keep track of their climate activities.
Finance is a key job function when it comes to climate action. A financial professional can direct the company’s finances and investments toward sustainable solutions, divest from problematic sources, and bring down the financial risk for the firm and the employees.
A financial analyst can make the case for investing in climate solutions. A treasurer can monitor and decrease the carbon footprint of corporate cash. Professionals in cost estimation can consider climate goals when setting product and service prices.
Government Relations and Public Policy
A specialist in government relations and public policy can work with the government, media, trade associations, and other stakeholders to advocate for climate action. Shaping public opinion is crucial for advancing adequate policies and regulations, and as a relations and policy professional, you can influence others and build a community that fosters dialogue and public action.
Human Resources and Operations
Human resources and operations specialists have the capacity to influence the company’s operations, culture, and employee behavior. An HR professional could communicate the risks and opportunities that come with climate change and make sure that the workplace complies with sustainability practices. HR specialists also shape the culture at the workplace so that climate goals take center stage when it comes to the company’s operations. According to Project Drawdown, studies indicate that HR practices within the company increase overall employee engagement with climate action, thus creating an impact that goes beyond the organization.
In-house legal professionals can play an integral role in addressing climate targets as they advise on corporate governance and ensure compliance. A general counsel, for example, has access to key stakeholders such as board members and can directly influence the direction the company takes when it comes to climate action. Members of the legal team can also guide the organization on policies and regulations that make sure climate goals are incorporated into legal agreements.
As storytellers, marketers play a decisive role and shaping the narrative around climate goals. Professionals in marketing can craft campaigns that effectively communicate the urgency of the climate crisis and motivate people to take action. People in the marketing function also manage public relations and they can ensure that the company does not associate with heavy polluters and other companies that take actions that are detrimental to the environment.
Professionals in procurement have a 360-degree view of the climate opportunities and challenges within their company. They can use their purchasing power to make more environmentally friendly choices and impact climate activities across the value chain.
Sales and Client-Facing Roles
Salespeople and those who have client-facing responsibilities can control who they sell the company’s products and services to and in that way promote activities that advance climate targets. Salespersons also have daily interactions with clients that can help them gain information on their climate priorities and then bring back that knowledge to the organization.
Regardless of your specific function within the organization, you have crucial expertise and available resources to advance climate targets. Download Project Drawdown’s checklist for your company role to have a daily actionable plan on how to reduce your carbon footprint.