How to raise climate awareness in your organization

How to raise climate awareness in your organization

How to Raise climate awareness in your organization

In 2023, UN Global Compact Network Netherlands facilitated two Peer Learning Groups: one on Gender Equality and one on Climate Action. The goal is for the participating companies to learn more about these important topics, to dig into the challenges that they are facing, and to exchange best practices that can help overcome these challenges.

Raising climate awareness in your organization can be a challenge, especially considering the amount and complexity of knowledge that is available. How can you increase awareness in our organization? During the fifth and final session of the 2023 Climate Action Peer Learning Group at the Invest-NL HQ, thre professionals shared their perspective on different ways to make a case for climate change within the organization.

One possible approach is gamification. By applying game elements and principles to illustrate complex topics such as the causes and consequences of climate change, ‘players’ often experience enhanced engagement and motivation. An example of gamifying climate action is Climate FRESK. The game is simple and based on scientific knowledge. It comprises 42 cards and can be played with three groups of eight players each.

Another approach is to track your carbon footprint. During the Peer Learning Group session, Jo Hand from Giki Zero explained why tracking your carbon through helps to raise awareness. The platform is developed and based on scientific knowledge and includes 160 steps to build a sustainable lifestyle. It provides feedback, motivates colleagues to learn more about sustainability, and increases engagement with each other within the organization by addressing different personalities.

Being carbon literate is essential in combating climate change. Carbon literacy means “an awareness of the carbon costs and impacts of everyday activities and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions on an individual, community, and organizational basis.” Phil Korbel, from The Carbon Literacy Project, explained how to become carbon literate and emphasized that it is not enough to learn by oneself, but that you should be involved in peer-to-peer social learning. By learning from peers, you develop a sense of belonging, trust, and support, as well as gain recognition and appreciation for skills and contributions.

Lastly, Martine Kruiswijk, from KlimaatGesprekken, stressed the transition from awareness to action, since this is not always a given. Any behavioral process takes time, and it is vital to go through this process together by engaging with your colleagues and friends.

After these inspiring contributions of the speakers, the participants carried out a plenary discussion about how to use these methods within their own organization. Each participant created a five-step action plan and shared their outcomes with their peers in breakout rooms.

We’d like to grant a special thanks to the host of this session, Andrea Dijk, from Invest-NL. She has shared how Invest-NL is staying inspired to keep progressing on climate ambition. Increasing time investment between colleagues, benefiting the knowledge contribution from invited speakers, organizing impact challenges for teams, and informing everyone with an ESG & Impact newsletter can help organizations create internal motivation and awareness.

Participant Survey 2023

Participant Survey 2023

Participant Survey 2023

Dear UN Global Compact participant,

Thank you for taking the time to fill in this Participant Survey. The outcomes of this questionnaire are valuable to us, as it will help us prioritize and define our future activities based on your interests. The information will be treated confidentially and will only be accessible to UN Global Compact NL. The survey should take no more than 5 minutes to fill in.

Merei Wagenaar, Executive Director of UN Global Compact Netherlands

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Learning about equity, a game about exclusion, and tips for inclusion

Learning about equity, a game about exclusion, and tips for inclusion

Learning about equity, a game about exclusion, and tips for inclusion 

This year, UN Global Compact Network Netherlands is piloting two peer learning groups, one on Gender Equality and one on Climate Action. The goal is for the participating companies to learn more about these important topics, to dig into the challenges that they are facing, and to exchange best practices that can help overcome these challenges. This blog is the first of many in which we aim to capture our companies’ peer learning journey.

Equity versus Equality

Earlier this month, we held our first gender equality session on the topic of “Inequality vs. Inequity”, hosted by one of the co-leading companies – Deloitte – in their Edge-office in Amsterdam.

Equality and equity are often confused. Equality refers to an equal distribution of resources and opportunities. The problem with this is that this implies everyone benefits the same from this support. This assumption is false since people’s starting position and therefore also their needs can differ. “Equity” acknowledges these differences and seeks to provide the required support they need to achieve the same equitable outcome. Ultimately, we as a society and our companies should strive for equitable outcomes to get to fair outcomes.

Deloitte co-leads: Hilary Richters , Karen Lampe & Jason Jie

But how do we get to equality?

Companies’ daily HR practices determine whether or not someone gets hired, promoted, or paid a specific salary. Associations with people’s genders, race, jobs often have the effect of putting people into different – unequal – social groups.

Jason Jie, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Specialist at Deloitte Netherlands, explained that companies should ensure an inclusive environment that appreciates everyone’s unique, diverse characteristics and backgrounds. Companies should also reflect on their work culture, which could exclude certain groups of people.  

To get a better understanding of the feeling of exclusion, Jason prepared a simulation game around including and excluding behaviours. All participants were assigned roles by putting on a pair of glasses with a card, with numbers between 2 and 10 – so you could see each other’s numbers, but not your own. Everyone was given the task to only talk to people with high numbers – and ignore people with low numbers. During the evaluation of the game, everyone could effortlessly guess whether they had a high or low number. It made participants aware of the subtle behaviours we have at work where we may exclude people instead of making them feel welcome.

Interestingly, Jason noted that the social norm on what’s considered legitimate inclusion or exclusion changes over time. For example, an employee resource group for LGBTQIA+ people to share their experiences could be seen to legitimately include one group and exclude others. It’s therefore important to keep having dialogues on what inclusion means, and how it can contribute towards equity.

Companies’ best practices to promote equity 

Throughout the session, companies exchanged best practices to promote more inclusive, equitable work environments. For example, Deloitte has a Panel & Proposal Promise: they aim for panels and proposal teams to consist of 40% men, 40% women, and 20% of employees that belong to underrepresented groups. A different company shared that before they start an application process, they map the existing team and what traits or characteristics could help diversify the team. This could mean focusing on a different gender, ethnicity, or educational background, and considering whether people are extroverts or introverts. Another company shared that they promote a more diverse pool of applicants in a male-dominated sector by ensuring that if internal application processes don’t have at least 33% women  applicants, they will open up the position externally to reach this.

At the end of our session, our group of companies committed to implementing at least one inclusive practice in their business. We will reflect on how this went during the next session on April 13.

Five ways for a company to embrace equity

Five ways for a company to embrace equity

Five ways for a company to embrace equity  

Two years ago, AkzoNobel first signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles. Now on International Women’s Day 2023, with a new CEO ready to carry on the commitment, we’re reflecting on what it really means for a company to sign this document – because it’s not just a photo op. “Signing the Women’s Empowerment Principles is a natural extension of the AkzoNobel culture and the way we operate,” says Greg Poux-Guillaume, AkzoNobel CEO. “We are making encouraging progress towards gender equality, but it remains an ongoing journey from which we will not deviate. We owe it to ourselves, to our partners and to our communities.” Here’s a brief overview of five ways we’re building a more diverse and inclusive company:

1. Increase leadership diversity

AkzoNobel’s leaders understand the importance of representation that reflects the diversity of our organization. We’ve set a goal of achieving 30% female representation in senior executive roles by 2025. Currently, at 25%, we’re well on our way to increasing that number.

Diverse leadership teams bring a range of perspectives and experiences that help us make better decisions and respond more effectively to changing market conditions. So as part of striving for 50-50 gender representation in executive recruitment, we require hiring managers to put together diverse interview panels.

2. Mind the gender pay gap

We believe in equal pay for equal work – and we can prove it.

In 2022, an external review of our compensation practice found that after correcting for background variables, the annual pay gap was just 0.9% in favour of men. We’ll continue to review the data and our practices to do what we can to get even closer to equal pay.

3. Develop and retain female talent

A rebuild of our talent performance framework is currently underway to provide our top talent with more career growth opportunities. Designed through the lens of diversity and inclusion, special care is being taken to prevent bias.

Globally, many resources are already in place to make sure our work environments are inclusive and welcoming to all, including a D&I toolkit, team workshops and an ambassador network.

We’re also making structural improvements, with a €400,000 budget allocated to improve women’s facilities in our manufacturing and supply chain locations. This includes projects to enhance bathrooms, showers and changing rooms, as well as create lactation rooms. Smaller improvements can also have a big impact – for instance, we now advise our sites to provide properly fitted workwear for female employees.

4. Foster employee networks

Our employee-driven Women Inspired Network connects people of all genders who are interested in advancing gender equality. 

Organized into local chapters, the network is a place to learn, grow and empower each other to drive change. For example, our India chapter invited local leaders to reverse-mentor women, increasing awareness of gender-related challenges. For this International Women’s Day, an online event about parenting and work will encourage conversation at our sites around the world.

5. Empower women in local communities

One of our 2030 ambitions is to empower more than 100,000 people with new skills – including programs tailored specifically to women.

In Brazil, our “Mulheres na Cor” (Women in Color) program helps women transform their lives by breaking into the traditionally male-dominated vehicle refinishes and decorative paints industries. In another initiative, we started working with more than 500 women in rural India to promote entrepreneurship in decorative paints.

Our journey to gender equity continues

The five areas listed above represent just a few of the actions we’re taking to promote gender quality at AkzoNobel and in the communities where we operate. We’re highly motivated to keep learning and growing in this journey together – that’s embracing equity.

Building critical mass for sustainable business

Building critical mass for sustainable business

Building critical mass for sustainable business

This was the challenge UN Global Compact Network Netherlands formulated one year ago for an alliance of 5 European universities (Barcelona, Budapest, Dublin, Montpellier, and Utrecht) under the name CHARM-EU, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.* A group of four students took the challenge and came up with their presentation on February 2, 2023, in Barcelona. One day later, together with all the other 56 students, they received their master’s degree at the European University, for the first time in history.

The focus of the students

The master students focussed the research question “What are SME perspectives regarding current and emerging sustainability reporting practices considering the incoming CSRD?” They focussed on the Netherlands where both their stakeholder UN Global Compact and the four University of Utrecht students are based.

The outcome of the research

After several interviews and desk research, it was confirmed: the SMEs have a lack of time, money and clarity about what is expected from them. Therefore, they built a prototype for a training module in the UN Global Compact Academy, consisting of three parts: requirements, resources/strategies, and a final quiz. Traditionally, we have the misconception that SMEs are little pawns in the business ecosystem, but the new regulations have put them in the spotlight and given them again the key role they have always played in their supply chains.

UN Global Compact Network Netherlands will consider how to follow up on these ideas.

Glossary/Info

*  The number of alliances as part of the European University is 44 and still growing, but none of them has already acquired accreditation for a master’s degree like CHARM-EU has.

 

 

Project Untold – By 11 young professionals that participate in UN Global Compact Network Netherlands’ Young Professionals Program

Project Untold – By 11 young professionals that participate in UN Global Compact Network Netherlands’ Young Professionals Program

Project Untold – By 11 young professionals that participate in UN Global Compact Network Netherlands’ Young Professionals Program

Every day, 17 million Dutch citizens purchase thousands of products: new jeans, a coffee, a t-shirt or a bottle of milk. But the price paid for these items almost never accounts for the true impact the production and consumption of these goods have on our environmental and social ecosystems.

As consumers, we often make purchases without any insight into the impact caused by the creation and/or delivery of everyday products and services. How do we activate people to be more aware of the story behind what they buy and empower interested individuals with the information they need to make informed and considered purchasing decisions?

About the project

As part of the Young Professionals Program of UN Global Compact Network Netherlands, we are a diverse team of 11 young professionals working across various organizations and industries. Together, we have launched Project Untold in partnership with True Price, with the goal of increasing awareness of the true costs associated with consumer choices. Motivated by our shared passion for sustainability, we aim to inspire others to make informed, responsible decisions that align with the SDGs. As aspiring leaders, we are committed to continually improving and making a positive impact on the world around us.

Project Untold focuses on raising awareness of the true environmental and social costs associated with everyday commodities and products. Working with a local designer, and True Price we are producing a series of digital art pieces to visualize the impacts of products far beyond what the eyes can see. The first three of these were launched at the True Price festival in November.

The eye-catching digital art

The digital art campaign grabs the attention of the consumer and then raises awareness by providing additional information through a “price tag” on the reverse side (also with a QR code to find out more)

Using digital art allows us to explore digital and social media channels, as well as print and physical exhibitions, for the dissemination of our campaign. We want to take it to the next level through an outdoor physical installation and a social media campaign.

How can you contribute to this campaign?

Currently, we are still working on the funding to expand our campaign and create an additional six art pieces to create even more awareness. Would you like to have more information about our project or interested in contributing to our campaign? Let us know by emailing: susan.van.hooijdonk@randstadgroep.nl 

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