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How Your Team Can Drive Your Company’s Sustainability Success

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ESG –  think environmental, social, and governance issues –  is the talk of the town today. Companies are investing time and effort into making their businesses more sustainable, and as consumers, we’re changing habits to reduce our environmental impact while also demanding and expecting that corporations pay genuine attention to their climate impact.  

But there’s something missing from the wider debate. Aside from the glossy reports and polished presentations that companies produce to showcase how good they’re doing, there’s a crucial perspective often overlooked – that of the employees. 

Exclusive data from climate impact platform Deedster show that 91% of employees talk about sustainability and climate with their colleagues, with a whopping 97% thinking that their company can have a positive impact on the environment.

And who knows the truth better than those who see it from its very core? Being Nordic at heart, we’re all about transparency and straight talk at Enfuce. 

That’s why we did a deep dive to shed some light on why you should pay more attention to sustainability and how to engage with your employees when it comes to climate action. 

In this blog post, we’re excited to publish a double interview with Monika Liikamaa co-CEO and co-founder at Enfuce and ESG champion, and Monika Martinsson, CPO and co-founder at climate impact platform Deedster. 

Read on as Monika and Monika explore what’s shaping the future of responsible business practices.

Why should businesses care about making sustainability a top priority?

Monika Liikamaa: Well, we’re literally running out of time! We can’t afford to sit back anymore while the world calls for action. We all have a responsibility to step up and raise the bar, and fintech has a huge role to play in driving that positive change.

“It’s time for companies to walk the walk and shake up the status quo by making sustainability a core part of how they operate”

To make our world better, we’ve got to prioritise environmental sustainability, encourage innovation, and think outside the box. And let’s not forget, this isn’t just good for the planet—it’s good for business too. Studies show that companies that take sustainability seriously tend to perform better. So, the clock’s ticking—let’s act now, before it’s too late. Not just for our planet, but for those companies that risk getting left behind.

Monika Martinsson: We need to understand the reality of the situation we’re in – the climate crisis is an existential risk for humanity. Things will get very bad very fast unless we reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

But whose job is it to mitigate climate change? Well, it takes a village. It’s down to each and every individual, institution, government and organization to get the job done. 

That’s why businesses need to do everything they can, as fast as they can. And in their own logic, that means finding ways to increase profits from “green initiatives”. If the sustainable choice is cheaper, faster and yields higher profits more companies will be quick to jump onboard. This would mean global change projects driven by well-known consultancy firms and KPIs, where bonuses are set on achieving green targets – but we’re not there yet.

“Now’s the time to push the ESG agenda. Educate your employees on the urgency and let them explore the business opportunities.”

When legislation changes, and it’ll change quickly, prepared companies will thrive. That’s why businesses need to make sustainability and ESG a top priority!

What impact do employees have when it comes to ESG practices and what role do you believe employees should play in driving their company’s sustainability efforts?

Monika Liikamaa: People truly are the driving force behind our success. They are not just employees, but they are the heartbeat of everything we do – also when it comes to our ESG efforts. 

That’s why, earlier this year, we decided to launch an internal sustainability challenge with Deedster to help Enfucers accelerate a shift towards a more sustainable future, at work and at home – all while having a ton of fun. And the results? They blew us away!

Enfucers collectively saved an impressive 23.6 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to the emissions from 130 return flights between Paris and London. Nearly 99% of our team took on at least one challenge to make a positive environmental impact, showcasing their commitment and 79% said they’ll try to continue to live a more sustainable life after the challenge!

And guess what? They did! In the weeks that followed, we started getting some really cool suggestions from Enfucers in different teams about how we could make our office and operations more sustainable. 

Monika Martinsson: Employees are the most important asset of companies, and culture impacts what gets done. That’s why management needs to involve and engage their workforce to drive the ESG agenda! If this need is ignored, employees — especially those of the younger, value-driven, and well-informed generation — will seek employment elsewhere.

These individuals are not afraid to oppose brands and companies lagging behind. They’ll push for internal ESG initiatives, and if they’re not heard they’ll find other ways to effect change. Which is fantastic! Engaged employees become great ambassadors, driving innovation, cost savings, and uncovering new business opportunities.

Do you feel that companies provide adequate training and education on environmental sustainability topics for their employees?

Monika Liikamaa: I think we need to do more.

“People are the heart and soul of any company. That’s why it’s crucial to really get them involved.”

Yes, training is a good start, but we got to do more than that. We need to give them the right tools and get them engaged so they feel excited and supported to come to us with ideas on how to shake things up and change the business for the better.

With sustainability and environmental responsibility becoming more and more important, what I see is that for employees it’s becoming a non-negotiable to understand how their company is making a real difference in the world and demand to be a part of that.

Monika Martinsson: No, not really. We see that a lot of the existing educational material and training setup fail to create engagement. ESG is a complex topic, it needs to be concretized and geared towards action. Learning how ocean salinity drives the greenhouse effect is interesting and important, but it’s not key to most businesses and it doesn’t drive action in the company-specific space. 

This is where new tech and tools come in handy! Gamified apps can increase awareness while also rewarding innovative ideas and promote leadership in sustainability.

“We see great engagement among employees when they access a fun learning and communication platform around sustainability.”

Can sustainability initiatives become part of a company’s culture?

Monika Liikamaa:  We’re the living and breathing proof! Sustainability can totally be woven into a company’s DNA – as long as there’s genuine passion behind it. 

At Enfuce, sustainability runs deep in our Nordic roots and is at the core of everything we stand for. We don’t just tick boxes; it’s a mindset that shapes every move we make. 

And you know what? It’s this very commitment that landed us a spot in the UN Global Compact Network Finland’s prestigious SDG Ambition program. They recognised our commitment to making a real impact! And this is not just any program; we are delving deep into our operations, identifying areas for improvement, and prioritizing ESG even further. But hey, we know we’re just getting started. We’re all about challenging ourselves and pushing boundaries.

Monika Martinsson: Haha, yes – talking about it front, back, and center! 

We emphasize both a top-down and bottom-up approach. Make sure to set targets and KPIs (top-down), you can even consider bonus targets on reaching sustainability KPIs for management roles. And bring in the workforce early – through education, events, and company communication. Using a tool like Deedster enables you to reach people where they are, engaging them with gamified learnings and encouraging action in their lives and workplace. 

And don’t give up! Changing culture can take 3-5 years, so do this shift mindfully. It’ll be good for people, the planet, and profit. 

What’s the next step for companies who truly want to step up efforts in the ESG space?

Monika Liikamaa: Here’s the deal: it’s time to stop just talking about sustainability or dusting off the topic only when it’s time to fancy up those annual reports. Companies need to integrate sustainability into their core business operations and make it a priority from top to bottom. 

That means setting some serious goals – think slashing carbon emissions, boosting diversity and inclusion, and getting real about ethical and responsible practices. It also means investing in cool tech that’s gonna shake things up for the better. 

Sure, it’s not a walk in the park – it requires a strong commitment to continuously do better. But trust me, it’s going to pay off!

“Together, we’ve got the power to make a real impact and pave the way for a brighter future. Let’s do this!”

Monika Martinsson: Well, let’s look at the companies who act: they measure double materiality (how the environment affects their business and how their business affects the environment), and set ambitious targets on what’s most important. Then they engage their workforce. 

One of our most impressive customers is the global reinsurer Swiss Re, who set up a 6-year HR program focusing on engaging individuals. With learnings, cooking events, bike to work challenges, special missions and badges, climate action championships, regional ambassadors, and role model testimonials. The full Monty! 

Equally impressive is the rising star in the fintech space, Enfuce, who started by developing an ESG product that could create impact far beyond their own reach. Now partnering with us at Deedster, they use our platform for a climate action campaign aimed at their whole sector. We’re so proud of this partnership and working together with Enfuce to accelerate the green transition in the fintech and banking sector!

And that’s a wrap, folks! Ready to take the stairs instead of the elevator and make a positive change? If you’re eager to dive deeper into how Enfuce is pioneering ESG initiatives and creating real impact, go check out our ESG report. It’s packed with insights and stories that will leave you inspired and ready to join us on this journey toward a sustainable future. Don’t miss out!