Influence

Ask us anything: How can I get my boss to take climate action seriously?

Lucy Piper shares some tips for persuading CEO's to take CSR seriously.

Article by
Lucy Piper
A corporate employee shares a report with her colleagues.

Question: “My company isn’t isn’t doing much to help when it comes to the climate crisis. I know my bosses are aware of all of the issues facing the planet, but I don't think they're taking their corporate social responsibility seriously. I’m a big believer in the power of CSR – but how can I convince them to start prioritising it?” – Alex, marketing, VIC. 

Lucy Piper, WorkForClimate’s Director says: “I know how difficult it can be having these conversations with the ‘higher ups’ at work. It’s likely that your boss is under pressure to meet targets, stay under budget, make your business look good and keep shareholders happy – so bringing up the idea of ‘doing good’ can sometimes be met with crickets.

The key is to talk to people in terms that makes sense to them, to keep your messages clear and concise, and to use case studies and stats to make the business case for what you’re saying. One simple way of doing this is to bring up a few examples of how other businesses in Australia are kicking some serious CSR goals. After all, you can’t be what you can’t see.

If a bank can step up for the climate, and maintain profitability and customer support, that’s a pretty good argument that any business can.

If you’re keen to push your CEO to move the business to 100% renewable energy, for example, you could talk about how Australia’s three biggest supermarkets – Woolworths, Coles and ALDI – have all committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2025. Telstra has even made a similar pledge. Or you could mention that Bank Australia became the first bank in Australia to switch to 100% renewable electricity after customers told them they wanted to see clear action on climate change. If a bank can step up for the climate, and maintain profitability and customer support, that’s a pretty good argument that any business can.

You can also talk about the fact that now, more than ever, consumers want businesses to be better. We’re seeing a huge rise in people paying more attention to who, how and where they choose to spend their money, which helps the rise of companies applying for B Corp certification in recent years. People are moving their money and superannuation away from banks that fund fossil fuels and into ethical financial institutions. They’re choosing to spend their money with companies that align with their values.

Tell your boss that taking action can also help retain employees, boost staff morale, and even inspire staff to work harder.

According to research from Wunderman Thompson, 91% of consumers want brands to use sustainable ingredients and materials, while 92% believe that sustainable business practices should be standard. You could highlight these numbers to your boss, and explain that they run the risk of behind left behind if they don’t step up and start making changes.  

Tell your boss that taking action can also help retain employees, boost staff morale, and even inspire staff to work harder. This 2020 report from Porter Novelli offers up some pretty mind-boggling statistics, suggesting that 93% of employees believe companies must lead with purpose, while 90% of surveyed participants say they’re more loyal to bosses who are actively trying to shift the needle and spark change, and are more likely to work harder too.

And you know what that means? It’ll make your business – and your boss – look progressive and future-focused.”

Are you ready to help your organisation make the switch to renewable energy? We’re here to help. Check out the resources on our Renewable Energy Action Hub now.

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