How to Build a Culture of Sustainability Through Employee Engagement

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Employee engagement can truly be a crucial instrument to achieve sustainability goals within companies. But how do you stimulate the right kind of engagement? How do you involve your employees in your social and sustainability initiatives? How can you track their efforts? In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and deep dive into why the Ambassify platform is the tool you need to build a culture of sustainability in your organization together with your employees.

Why sustainability?

The short answer is that it makes sense. Now, to explain why it makes sense, let’s first dive into some statistics:

A recent study by Harvard Business School found that up to 80% of people interviewed find it of the utmost importance that the company values and culture are lived up from the bottom up for them to be truly impactful.

This is just one statistic, granted, but it proves how much employees care that their company engages its entire workforce in creating a work environment that reflects the values the company stands for and ascribes to. And this is important for your social and sustainable effort or activism because engagement is the instrument to achieve your sustainable goals.

In a 2019 HP Workforce Survey, 56% of respondents stated that an employer ignoring sustainability was as bad as neglecting diversity and inclusion. Furthermore, 40% said that they’d look for new jobs if their employers didn’t prioritize or engage in sustainability practices.

Sustainability in the workplace is no longer optional — we all know that, right? – but why so? It’s not only because of the urgency because the planet needs. It’s also because employees expect it; they actively look for it and are willing to take a pay cut if that means they can instead work for an employer that devotes time, effort, and energy to sustainable initiatives. And if businesses want to stay relevant and continue to profit in the future, they need to be making sustainability their priority and embed it in all aspects of their business.

So employee retention, recruitment, employer branding, employee engagement…they all come together in our platform. And that’s why we made sure that our platform could become a critical tool to stimulate sustainability-related engagement among employees and within companies.

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The importance of employee engagement and employee advocacy

From our conversations and research, it emerged that among the main challenges CSR and sustainability managers face is how to engage the workforce and gain its buy-in. That’s why employee engagement is a significant factor in corporate social responsibility and achieving goals designed to impact society and a company’s business goals.

Getting employee buy-in is essential if you want your CSR strategy to be the most effective. However, this often proves to be a deterrent because many employees might approach these issues with skepticism or even disregard them altogether.

When it comes to stimulating engagement, we believe it ultimately boils down to how much employees can identify with the organization's values and see themselves in their goals and culture. Many factors come into that – from culture, value, and goal alignment to health & well-being, the relationship with the managers, professional growth, recognition…

However, designing initiatives to generate engagement is challenging, and sustaining it requires a lot of effort. That’s why Ambassify offers a shortcut: employee advocacy. You can use advocacy to ease people into initiatives that make employees feel more involved in company life, appreciated, and engaged.

The elements you focus on here are the same: trust, values alignment, recognition, and an emotional connection. These will allow you to grow an engaged workforce.

Leverage engagement & advocacy to contribute to sustainability

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How to build a culture of sustainability

The link between employee engagement & advocacy and sustainability is twofold:

  1. Promoting sustainability-centered initiatives can, on the one hand, act as a catalyst, attracting those employees who maybe aren’t that engaged and sparking in them that connection with the company and its goals that they couldn’t see before.
  2. At the same time, engaged employees are more likely to want to help you achieve your sustainability goals, your SDGs – and they can actually do that. The Ambassify platform can give you the tools to engage with them, share your goals, strategy, stance, and commitment and help you communicate with them transparently.

Here are a few examples of how you can create a culture of sustainability within your company:

  • Communicate about your position and commitment. What SDGs you’re working on, and why
  • Share with employees your efforts. Let them know what steps you’ve already taken and which ones you wish to take
  • Encourage involvement. Let them decide on an individual level how much they want to pitch in and how they want to do that
  • Ask them to share ideas. They can share their initiatives, share ideas and suggestions for actions, and be your inspiration.
  • Ask them to be internal and external ambassadors. To employees who are less engaged and don’t know about your initiatives, but also on social media, for example, spreading the word about your company and your achievements

Bring transparency to the forefront

Transparency is crucial when it comes to bringing your employees together and getting their buy-in toward a common cause. An employee advocacy platform can amplify your efforts of bringing everyone together by creating that online community space to gather your employees, curate the content they have access to, and share with them the goals, projects, trajectories, and initiatives you’re involved in. 

On the platform, you can, for example:

  • Turn your initiatives, projects, and goals into campaigns to share with your employees, 
  • Make employees part of your strategy
  • Make sure they have a clear idea of what their efforts are for
  • Encourage them to advocate for you
  • Trigger their involvement and feeling of belonging to the bigger causes 

Actions you can take to contribute to sustainability

There are an enormous amount of different actions organizations, or employees can take to contribute to sustainability. 

We want to help organizations glimpse the potential their communities possess and inspire them: inspire them with ideas and content that can stimulate and generate engagement actions on different levels, from lower threshold campaigns with smaller impact to higher-end actions that can truly move the needle when it comes to achieving your SDGs.


“Taking actions that benefit people or the environment, but that are external to the organization.”

  • Philanthropy to NGO’s 
  • Community projects 
  • Carbon offset schemes 
  • Company forest
  • Donating old IT material
  • Building a flower meadow or insect hotel on company terrain
  • Participating in ‘Mei Plastiekvrij'


“Cleaning up one’s buildings, workspaces, and assets with environmental and labor management systems that continually improve energy efficiency, safety, compliance, waste handling, and governance. Moving towards zero impact.”

  • Defining KPIs and targets for sustainability strategy
  • Energy efficiency and production 
  • Stimulating gender balance
  • Waste reduction and recycling
  • Creating a more sustainable travel policy
  • Introduce stand-up / moving working
  • Carry a reusable cup and glass containers


“Setting sustainability requirements for all suppliers. Buying fewer but better and longer-lived materials. Ensuring fair trade throughout the supply chain. This forces resource productivity and social responsibility from the whole supply chain by leveraging the power of procurement.”

  • FSC certified wood 
  • Supplier code of conduct
  • Selecting partners on sustainability criteria
  • Banning single-use plastics from procurement options
  • Buy fairtrade products
  • Demand more transparency from brands
  • Buying food with a regenerative local farmer


“Redesigning operations for optimal resource productivity through whole system redesign.”

  • Shared thermal grid
  • New -net positive- technologies
  • Rethink the design cycle - life cycle analysis (LCA)
  • Sharing infrastructure, knowledge, and experience with others
  • Using rainwater

Ambassify has a fully-developed use case focused on sustainability: we will equip you with the tool and features you need to spark and grow engagement and build a culture of sustainability in your organization.

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