Do your incentives match your convictions?

Have you ever been in a situation in which you had to make a decision and you have decided against the “feel-good option” because you were influenced by other factors? For example the company policy or the reward system? 

I have the feeling that there are many people, living a fairly sustainable life besides their business or job; but as soon as they are acting within – or for a company, their behaviour changes. 



In situations where a certain budget needs to be met, other criteria, like sustainability or fairness become unimportant very quickly.

Imagine someone who works in sales and takes the bike to work daily. This is environmentally friendly and gives him/her a little workout everyday. When it comes to business trips this person may have the goal to meet a certain number of customers personally. In order to achieve this goal he/she takes a car or airplane to see all customers. In times of skype, video conferences etc. he/she might be able to cut down his/her business journeys and would align his/her behaviour according to the individual environmental consciousness. Due to the company policy this is very unlikely to happen. It could also be that a bonus depends on this number, which makes this behaviour also very comprehensible.  

There is such enormous potential for companies to reduce their CO2 emissions, waste and other polluting factors. At the same time they could increase the overall satisfaction of their employees. 

I have only seen very few companies setting goals according to environmental measurements – like the reduction of business journeys fore example. 

In order to be successful in the long term I think companies have to change their point of view on how they measure success. This might mean that it is more effective to choose long term goals instead of short term goals.

In times of skills shortage and Greta Thunberg, qualified personnel will consider factors of future employers that deal with sustainability and they will refuse to work for companies that do not align with their personal convictions. So suddenly this topic becomes relevant for employment issues as well.

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