Paths to Operationalize Sustainability Through Life Cycle Management in a Company: Illustrated Applications
Sustainability as a Motivation Generator
3.1.1 What Leading Companies Are Saying About Sustainability Value Creation Through Employees Engagement?
Employees are increasingly considered as a key stakeholder group in driving companies to take action on sustainability issues (Accenture and United Nations Global Compact 2013). For example. Beiersdorf's Sustainability report clearly illustrates this pathway of value creation for companies: Nowadays, employees express a strong interest in sustainability issues. They want to work for a company that shares their values and actively engages them in its sustainability commitment. This is becoming an ever more important requirement to attract, retain and motivate employees. We firmly believe that we can only increase our sustainability commitment with the support of our employees. In order for our sustainability strategy to be effective and achieve its targets, our employees need to understand what sustainability means to them in private and in business terms and how they can actively contribute. This in turn leads to increased motivation and enhanced performance, which benefits our business. (Beiersdorf 2013).
Starbucks is also a leading example illustrating the integration of employees, called “partners” by Starbucks, as key stakeholders for the company and its value: The management of Starbucks considers that one of the major reasons for Starbucks success is the “partners” and the relationship they form each day with the customers, and not the coffee itself. Starbucks thus invests a lot in its employees through equal treatment, a strong internal communication and feedbacks politic as well as social measures. This creates an interactive structure with “partners” in the center that makes the employees commit and identify themselves with the company. Starbucks sells the concept of the brand to their employees first, making them part of the story and ensuring their personal investment in the company's development, as they believe in the company and contribute to its success out of self-interest. (Starbucks, Global responsibility report 2013). “We built the Starbucks brand first with our people, not with consumers. Because we believed the best way to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers was to hire and train great people, we invested in employees.” (Starbucks 2013).