What does sustainability have to do with corporate success? Can a carbon footprint become a competitive advantage? And, how can sustainability be implemented in companies in a meaningful and, well, sustainable way?
In this article, we want to dive deep into how we live sustainability here at Personio, and how electronic signatures have a role to play in all of it.
Corporate Sustainability: More Than A Nice-To-Have
For quite a while, sustainability was merely associated with tote bags and recycled toilet paper. In the time since then, though, it has made the leap from “eco-niche” and well into the mainstream – and that’s a good thing.
That’s because sustainability is not only an important environmental issue but one that companies are increasingly having to deal with. In other words, those who ignore the issue run the risk of being overtaken by committed competitors.
Apart from the value it brings to the environment and climate, here are three compelling business reasons why sustainability should be high on your agenda.
1. A Stronger Employer Brand
Many Millennials (the same people you may be looking to recruit!) are interested in sustainability and demand that employers act in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Sustainability measures can therefore have a direct impact on your employer brand.
2. Increased Competitiveness
Sustainability is not only an advantage when it comes to recruiting. For companies that have many competitors with similar products, it may often decide who consumers will favor. Therefore, a sustainable product or a sustainable attitude can tip the scales.
3. A Shared Corporate Culture
Shared values are something magical. They not only serve as a compass for organizations, but they also create connections. At Personio, we believe that we can make a positive impact on the environment and society through our culture. Social responsibility is one of our core values – we work together for a good cause. In short, this connects us and strengthens us as a company.
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All told, sustainability can truly transform your company. Taking action around sustainability can strengthen your market position, your employer brand, and your culture. If you keep all of this in mind, you can take responsibility as a company and make a change.
The concept of a “Sustainable Future” – firmly anchored in the United Nations agenda since 2016 – concerns citizens, institutions, and companies alike. The subtle difference here though is that companies have far greater leverage than individuals.
Field Notes: Sustainability at Personio
From the very beginning, sustainability and climate have been two key topics here at Personio. In fact, in the words of Personio Founder and CEO, Hanno Renner, “One of my motivations for founding the company was to create a platform that would enable us to have a positive impact on society and the environment.”
Within the rest of the team, there was broad support for green initiatives that would make a difference. For example, a Sustainability Committee was formed, which actively works on reducing our ecological footprint as a company.
Personio’s Sustainability Measures At A Glance:
- Green electricity for offices and digital services – This is one of our most important levers for reducing CO2 emissions.
- No domestic flights – Our employees take the train or bus to travel within Germany.
- Climate-friendly commuting – We offer annual tickets for public transport, e-scooters, and subsidies for personal bicycles through JobRad.
- Sustainability Committee – This group is responsible for sustainable measures such as a new recycling strategy in the office and sustainability partnerships.
- Veggie canteen – Personio will soon have a canteen in Munich offering vegetarian and vegan meals.
- Impact Day – Employees at Personio get one free day, per year, to contribute to a social or environmentally friendly project.
- Support for environmental projects – We support a project to heat water using solar energy in India and one to protect the Kakamega rainforest.
Our Path To Sustainability
We have long been actively working to reduce and offset our CO2 emissions. To offset previous emissions, we support certified climate protection projects. Moreover, we want to get even better: With Planetly, we are gaining an even deeper understanding of Personio’s carbon footprint and finding more ways to improve it.
The Most Important Steps To Implementing Sustainability
Simply saying, “starting tomorrow, we’ll start being sustainable” is a great idea in principle – but it only works when it’s partnered with real action.
The management consultancy firm Deloitte has also looked at how sustainability can be implemented in companies. Their experts have identified three areas of focus to help make a transformation toward greater sustainability stick:
1. Beginning At Management Level
A commitment to sustainability needs to be strengthened by those at the very top. At Personio, it’s the founders — above all, our CEO, Hanno Renner – who make sure that the topic has a permanent place on the Personio agenda. To this end, employees sometimes get a day off to demonstrate together on Fridays for Future.
2. Comprehensive Measurement
To find out where most emissions are generated, we first had to identify our greatest levers for more sustainability. Because we have a digital product, most of the emissions came from external service providers, our office space, and employee travel and commuting.
As a result, we switched to green electricity and adjusted our travel policy, for example. In addition, Planetly helps us keep an eye on our ecological footprint.
3. Integration Into Corporate Strategy
For sustainability to be successful, it needs to rise above being a niche project. Deloitte recommends that sustainability be firmly integrated into the corporate vision and mission statement of companies so that the value is also reflected in both strategy and culture.
At Personio, sustainability is a core value of ours, which means we also want to make our products as green as possible. One example is our electronic signature function, which saves paper in thousands of businesses.
Beware Of Greenwashing!
The benefits of sustainability within companies are vast, but you need to be mindful not to fall into the trap of greenwashing. Even though sustainability has its benefits, it cannot simply be something done for the cameras. Of course, you should talk about what you’re doing and lead the charge, but make sure your actions stack up to your words.
You can only be successful with sustainability if you both talk the talk and walk the walk. If, on the other hand, it remains a marketing tool, it’s almost like missing the points (and the benefits) entirely.