You might ask yourself: What is the role of HR in tackling climate change?

And I would say: A very important one!

Alarm bells are going off for many organizations. Floods, wildfires, heat domes and rising land/ocean temperatures have become topics of conversation at work. Climate change affects everyone and everything; and increasingly, organizations see the need to adopt environmental strategies.

Post-pandemic, companies are rethinking how, where and when work gets done – not only to respond to societal expectations but also to attract and retain key talent.

It is estimated that by 2029, 72% of the global workforce will be made up of Millennials and Gen Zs who are generally more interested in the environment and want to work for organizations with a clear mandate on social and environmental justice1.

But it’s not only about talent. HR is at the core of redefining business practices to help organizations take action and respond proactively to the climate crisis.

What is HR’s climate agenda?

HR can (and must) play a strategic role in integrating climate action into organizational and people strategies.

Here is how:

Partner with leadership: Getting senior management support is critical to building an organizational culture committed to climate action.

Vision/purpose/values: Embed sustainability objectives in the organization’s long and short-term goals. This then informs people, technology and budgetary planning so that achieving these objectives become a reality.

Appeal to the workforce: Anchor climate objectives in the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). This means clearly communicating the organization’s commitment to reducing its impact on the environment. This will attract candidates and appeal to current employees who care about the planet and want to make a difference.

Make it real: To make it a day-to-day employee experience, sustainability objectives and desired outcomes need to be incorporated into company policies/processes and core HR functions such as recruitment and selection, employee development, performance management, total rewards and employee wellness. This shows that the organization is willing to walk its “environment” talk.

Measure it: Implement climate-related performance indicators so that progress can be measured and success rewarded.

HR: the Difference Maker

It is people who make a difference in climate change – HR is all about people – so it only makes sense that organizations look to their HR professionals for climate change leadership.