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RESEARCH BRIEF: Environmental commitments can contribute to employee loyalty and increased productivity

Takeaway: Researchers found that employees of firms adhering to global environmental standards held more positive attitudes about their jobs than employees of environmentally lagging firms. Improved employee well-being, greater involvement with the job, and increased willingness to work unpaid hours as needed have positive implications for labor productivity. These benefits can help offset the costs of implementing and maintaining environmentally friendly practices.

Suggested audience: Top leadership, managers, corporate citizenship managers and professionals, and human resource professionals – particularly relevant for firms looking to adopt an environmental management system and for managers interested in utilizing more environmentally friendly practices

The researchers examined the impact that adoption of environmental-related standards has on employee well-being, job involvement, and effort. They analyzed data from a large French survey conducted in 2006. This survey examined 7,700 private French firms with at least 20 employees across various industries, gathering information on firm characteristics and job-related feedback from randomly sampled employees.

Definitions of terms:

Environmental-related standards: In 2006, whether or not the firm had adopted the ISO 14001 standard, was certified organic or certified fair trade.

Employee well-being: Whether the employee feels his or her work is useful to others, and whether the employee feels fairly valued by the employer.

Job involvement: Whether the employee states that he or she is heavily involved in his or her job.

Effort: Whether the employee is compensated for his or her supplementary work hours.

Key findings include:

  • Employees who work for environmentally conscious firms are more likely to feel that they are useful to others and more likely to feel that they are fairly valued by their organization.
  • Employees in environmentally conscious firms are more likely to put in voluntary unpaid hours.
  • Employees who feel that their work is useful to others are more likely to be heavily involved in their job.
  • Employees who feel they are fairly valued by their employer are more likely to be heavily involved in their job.

If citing, please refer to the original article: “How Green is my Firm? Workers’ Attitudes towards Job, Job Involvement and Effort in Environmentally-Related Firms,” Centre d’études de l’emploi, Working paper, October 2012,Joseph Lanfranchi, Université Panthéon-Assas, and Sanja Pekovic, University Paris-Dauphine

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