Click on a category on the right to read a summary of the case studies in that area
Staff Training and Incentives
The 'staff training and incentives' best practice category in the Greening Retail database provides examples of how retailers train and educate their staff on environmental policies and programs in order to help them achieve the company's environmental goals. It is important to make staff knowledgeable about environmental policies and procedures and to motivate them to take action.
Breadth of Practice
Ideally, new staff will be briefed from the outset about a company's environmental policies and initiatives. The greening retail database provides an example of how one company includes environmental issues in their staff orientation. Sometimes in-depth training is necessary on particular topics, and retailers are using various means to provide it. The Greening Retail database provides 3 examples of how a retailer uses workshops and/or training courses for this. Other venues for informing staff are printed materials or on-line via a company's intranet.
In addition to information on environmental practices, staff sometimes need motivation to carry them out. This is where incentives and disincentives come in. Although giving rewards is more common (3 cases), some companies do provide disincentives; for example, in one case in our database, a company instituted a 'tax' on negative environmental activities. Another incentive may be to provide concrete feedback on environmental performance; in three case studies, employees are informed about their energy use regularly.
An enjoyable way to motivate employees may be to create competition amongst them to see who can save the most energy, waste or accomplish other environmental achievements. Two of the case studies describe incentives like these.
The best ways to promote environmental awareness throughout a retail company will vary depending on the culture of a company. From what can be seen through the examples in the database, leading retailers are finding creative ways to encourage participation throughout the company in environmental activities.
The following table summarizes the types of practices found in the Greening Retail best practice database that pertain to staff training and incentives and includes the number of companies for which this practice is described in the database.
Make it Part of Orientation
A good place to start for staff training on environmental policies and procedures is at staff orientation. The environment features strongly in Musgrave Group's Employee Handbook, which all staff receive at induction. All new members of staff receive a presentation on environmental issues, prepared by the Group Environmental Executive.
Hold Workshops and Training Courses
Retailers have found a variety of methods to get out their environmental messages-from messages about broad environmental awareness to messages about the more technical aspects of implementing environmental practices. In accordance with the Inditex environmental policy, their Central Services' employees are following a course in order to raise their environmental awareness. The Inditex Management team, by implementing this measure, is trying to spread its content and application amongst their employees and to fulfil its commitment to respect it. The course is being done through the Company's intranet and is divided into 4 units.
Over 100,000 colleagues at Morrisons have been trained in "Switching On to Switching Off", which promotes a series of common sense initiatives enabling everyone to contribute to saving energy.
Staff training and participation are the keys to a successful recycling program. Bunnings Cannon Hill has integrated recycling into their staff training program and has even developed a training video to show staff how to make the most of the recycling systems.
Giving staff printed materials is one way to let them know about environmental issues. In 2004, every associate received an Hbc Energy Management Awareness handbook - a guide to reducing everyday energy consumption with tips for the home and office. Also, Zellers produces employee newsletters, offers monthly tips, and distributes its Protecting Our Future energy reports to all regional, district and store managers.
Use the Intranet
For employees with access to a company's intranet, putting information online can cut down on paper compared to printed information. Leading up to Earth Day, weekly conservation tips were posted on Hbc's associate intranet. Starting in Germany, METRO Group Facility Services (MFS) is rolling out a modular environment information system for a more efficient exchange of knowledge and experience on ecological subjects between the sales divisions. In future, all employees in charge of environmental protection at METRO Group will be able to access this system on the Intranet.
Incentives and Disincentives
After employees are given information on environmental practices, they often need motivation to carry them out. The database contains a number of innovative examples of how retailers are creating a culture of environmental awareness at all levels in their organizations. For example, Zellers rewards energy efficient behaviour by offering financial incentives to district store associates who achieve the highest year-over-year improvement on energy efficiency.
A good way to provide incentives is to provide relevant feedback to employees about performance in environmental activities. WH Smith Store managers have visibility and direct accountability for energy consumption in their store, with energy costs applied to the store's profit and loss account. This has contributed to greater awareness of the importance of energy efficiency. J. Sainsbury's energy consumption information is available for stores to check performance daily throughout the year.
At Morrisons, performance is monitored through designated 'Energy Champions' at every location and measured centrally. Each month, stores receive a graph showing their energy consumption performance compared to last year to encourage them in making further progress. Average energy savings of 4.7 per cent were achieved across their stores over the first two months of the campaign
As a disincentive, Seiyu's unique in-house Eco-Tax system was introduced in 2002. In this system, a "tax" is placed on activities that have a negative impact on the environment, and "deductions" are granted for activities that reduce environmental impacts or otherwise benefit the environment. No taxes are actually paid, but the tax amounts are calculated and reported by every store, helping raise environmental awareness among associates.
Create Competition Among Employees
To encourage employees to be conscious of energy saving opportunities, BJ's Wholesale Club operates a game each month that asks store employees to spot wasted energy use and to fix it. The game, called the Killer Watt Gang, employs volunteer "sheriffs" at stores to be on the lookout for "villains." The so-called villains could be lights left on or refrigeration doors being open unnecessarily. BJ's Wholesale Club has reduced energy costs by $4.8 million per year
The Kill-a-Watt competition was an initiative open to all IKEA units, running from November 2003 to January 2004. The aims were to reduce both the amount of electricity used and increase awareness of electricity costs. Another key objective of the competition was to promote the sharing of good ideas and best practice across IKEA.
Other Awareness Campaign Activities
The possibilities for promoting environmental awareness throughout a company are almost endless and will vary depending on the existing company culture. Here are a few more examples of what companies have done.
Zellers launched an awareness program through a series of road shows presented to store managers in each of its 24 districts. With the aim of encouraging participation and awareness of employees, Inditex has designed a sustainable mascot that will be used to boost all of Inditex's sustainable initiatives, both those that the company promotes and those promoted by the employees.
At Bunnings, environmental news and recycling success stories are included in staff newsletters and on the website. Prizes are given to staff members who come up with effective ways to save waste in Bunnings' stores.
Each of Ben & Jerry's Company sites (Waterbury, St. Albans, South Burlington) has a Green Team comprised of employees interested in environmental issues. These employee-led teams come up with projects, activities and events that highlight relevant environmental issues within the Company and beyond. In 2005, Company Green Teams initiated the following projects to support community and employee environmental awareness:
This synopsis was compiled from case studies in the Greening Retail Best Practice Database. Sources for the information in the case studies are cited in the database.
This database contains links to case studies of environmental best practice from retailers around the world. You can search this database by the name of the company only, or you can find case studies that match one or several specific criteria, such as the type of retailer, the type of best practice, the company's country of origin, and/or project return on investment.
Simply select your search criteria in the spaces provided and hit the "search" button to come up with a list of the kinds of case studies you're looking for.
Please note that we cannot include all the practices of every retailer; therefore, the non-inclusion of a company, or of a certain area of practice for a company, does not mean that they do not presently have progressive environmental initiatives in these areas.
If you would like to submit a case study to be added to the database,
please contact email@example.com.