November 2021 – Carbon commitment: how the World’s Best are tackling climate change

image: courtesy of Atlassian

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The COP26 climate conference might be behind us but the real work of tackling climate change lies ahead. In that spirit, we have been looking at how Australia’s best companies are taking on the challenge of reducing carbon emissions.

Decarbonisation matters.

To limit global temperatures to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times, the world must get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

That’s a goal that affects every employer and every person on the planet.

But for Australia’s Best Workplaces™, taking real action on climate change not only helps the planet, but it also pays more immediate dividends.

Great Place to Work® research shows that an organisation’s financial performance improves when a purpose other than profit-making guides decision-making and when management’s actions match up with that purpose.

Even better, employees are 1.9 times more likely to feel proud of their organisation when they feel good about how their company contributes to the community.

So how are the best companies taking on climate change?

REA Group

Australia’s leading real estate firm, the ASX top-20, Great Place to Work-Certified™ REA Group, is acutely aware that carbon emissions from the property sector are a big contributor to global emissions.

In March, REA Group was certified carbon neutral by Climate Active on its FY20 carbon footprint and is on the way to reducing emissions for the FY21 year which includes a newly acquired business in India.

“As we’ve grown into this space … it’s become part of the way we do things,” says REA Group CEO Owen Wilson.

“In verbatim engagement survey comments, we saw interest and support from our people about environmental initiatives, we saw sustainability groups popping up on Slack and increased dialogue about what we could do within our offices, and beyond, that would make a significant industry and environmental impact.”

Atlassian

Atlassian, Australia’s home growth tech giant that ranked number 23 on the World’s Best Workplaces™ list and fifth on Australia’s Best Workplaces, has set ambitious goals to combat the climate crisis and reach a net-zero future.

The goals include setting targets to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In FY20, Atlassian’s operations ran on 100% renewable electricity.

Atlassian says it has a responsibility to stand up for what’s right and its outspoken founders have long championed business as a force for good. Every year, Atlassian donates 1% of its profits, employee time, equity, and products.

Bellroy

Melbourne-based wallet and handbag designer Bellroy is part of the BCorp movement — a group of companies using the power of business to help solve social and environmental problems.

Bellroy takes its environmental responsibilities seriously and applies this across its supply chain, eliminating toxins in product and packaging and reducing waste. It’s ‘cradle to cradle’ philosophy aims to design products that minimise environmental impact.

4 Pines

The Sydney-based brewer 4Pines has committed to purchasing 100% renewable electricity by 2022.

A 100 KW solar system helps power the firm’s HQ and brewery while an organic waste stream across all 4 Pines operated sites, including hospitality venues, diverts 95% of organic waste from landfills. Grain used in the brewing process ends up in cattle feed or dog treats and spent yeast is a renewable energy source.

Employees says this environmental focus is part of what makes 4Pines a great place to work: “Triple bottom line, focus on community and environment, not just dollars.”

Cisco

Cisco quite deliberately uses a commitment to global issues as inspiration for its employees.

Ajay Gopal, Community Impact Manager at Cisco, says Cisco has partnered with the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow and has committed to net zero across all scope of emissions by 2040.

“This includes our emissions across product use, operations and supply chain,” says Gopal.

Cisco Foundation has also committed to $100 million over 10 years to help reverse the impact of climate change, funding non-profit grants and impact investments that support climate change solutions.

“Cisco’s trying to bring forth everything in our repertoire, right from our investments, our technology, our people power, to be able to address this issue.”

Tim Fawcett, Cisco’s director of government affairs, says employees demand that corporations have a position on a wide range of issues.

“What is your story in relation to climate change? What is your story in relation to modern slavery? What is your story in relation to data security and data privacy? What is your story in relation to the circular economy? In Australia, what are you doing in relation to reconciliation?” he says.

“It’s one thing to have the plan. It’s another thing to actually activate it and see your leaders back it 100%.”

Research from Great Place to Work® shows that when employees say their work has “special meaning,” rather than being “just a job,” they are 56 per cent more likely to experience innovation opportunities. Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. We have spent decades studying what makes a workplace great. As you plan the way your people tackle climate change, please feel free to contact me to learn more about how you can apply our insights to create a great workplace today.

Samantha Huddle is the General Manager of Great Place to Work® in Australia and NZ. Sam has more than two decades of experience from the grassroots to the C-suite and helps businesses build high-trust, inclusive cultures that deliver tangible results. With experience across the government, philanthropic and corporate sectors, Sam brings a collaborative, values-driven approach and a passion for achieving social impact through business. Sam publishes a well-read monthly newsletter which can be read **here.**

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ABOUT OUR METHOLOGY​

To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.

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