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09/10/2012

Employees at Green Companies are More Productive

 
Recent data shows that employees of green companies are significantly more productive.

A UCLA-led study has found that companies that voluntarily adopt international "green" practices and standards have employees who are 16% more productive than the average.

Professor Magali Delmas, an environmental economist at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and Sanja Pekovic from France's University Paris–Dauphine are the first to study how a firm's environmental commitment affects its productivity.

Their findings, forthcoming this week, will be published online in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

"Adopting green practices isn't just good for the environment," Delmas says. "It's good for your employees and for your bottom line. Employees in such green firms are more motivated, receive more training, and benefit from better interpersonal relationships. The employees at green companies are therefore more productive than employees in more conventional firms."

For their study, "Environmental Standards and Labor Productivity: Understanding the Mechanisms That Sustain Sustainability," Delmas and Pekovic collected data from a survey of employees at 5,220 French companies, randomly selecting two employees from each company for a pool of more than 10,000 people. Companies that had voluntarily adopted international standards and eco-labels such as "fair trade" and "organic" or the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 14001 certification were identified as green.

The researchers determined each company's productivity by taking a logarithm of its value added (revenue minus costs), divided by the number of employees, which produced the average value of production per employee. They discovered a difference of one standard deviation, which corresponded to 16% higher-than-average labor productivity, in firms that voluntarily adopted environmental standards.

The employee surveys showed how much training employees received and how often they interacted with co-workers — which Delmas and Pekovic found also correlated with green companies.

"It's truly a big difference between firms that have adopted these practices and firms that haven't," Delmas says. "I expected a contrast, but not such a strong, robust jump in productivity."

Green certifications should be used by managers to increase productivity, by potential employees as a sign of a better work environment, and by investors as an indicator of good management practices, Delmas said. Previous research has already shown that sustainable business practices can result in cost-efficiencies, but Delmas and Pekovic are the first to explore the link to labor productivity.

"It's a counterpoint to people thinking that environmental practices are detrimental to the firm," Delmas said. "Green practices make a company more attractive because so many employees want to work for a company that is green, but we also argue in this paper that it's more than just wanting to work there — it's working more."

The findings reflect a change in attitudes, according to Delmas.

"When you talk now to M.B.A. students, there's a big change in the way they look at their future job," she said. "They don't want to work just to make money. They also want to make a difference. There's a little more social consciousness than there was before."


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04/16/2014

The U.S. Army plans to start development of a solar array that will provide about 25% of the annual installation electricity requirement of Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

04/15/2014

The EPA's annual greenhouse gas emissions report is now available.

04/14/2014

Are you what some would call a “climate-change denier”? If so, you'll want to read this.

04/10/2014
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Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time.
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04/03/2014
Building owners in Chicago now have more options when it comes to getting their building energy data verified.
04/01/2014
According to a new report from Eaton, such outages are up 15% in 2013 over 2012 and over half of those surveyed believe that downtime could have been prevented.
03/31/2014
The newly revised ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014, Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, aims to provide a consistent method of measuring, expressing, and comparing the energy performance of buildings.
03/27/2014
Facility managers face an every expanding array of sustainability choices and challenges, but for the next generation of FMs, green practices could be second nature as sustainability literacy enters the K-12 school system.
03/25/2014
While the economic recession explains the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to fall.
03/24/2014
University of Washington (UW) scientists have built the thinnest known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.
03/21/2014
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2378 into law, effectively enacting the state’s first building code.
03/19/2014
In an attempt to improve building energy performance, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a web-based tool called the Technology Performance Exchange, or TPEx.
03/18/2014
Could green building practices pose unanticipated life-safety hazards?
03/13/2014
Worried about workplace violence in your facility? Researchers have discovered that “mindfully observing” high-risk employees can avert danger and workplace violence.
03/11/2014
Through the DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program, every dollar the DOE has spent on building energy codes over the past two decades has resulted in $400 in energy cost savings.
03/07/2014
It is possible to harvest energy from Earth's thermal infrared emission into outer space, according to new research from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
03/05/2014
Is your building prepared to handle an emergency?
03/04/2014
NASCAR revealed five newly installed charging stations for employee use.
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