A new study in France, published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, has revealed that companies that adopt environmental programs benefit from a dramatic boost in employee productivity. The study, “Environmental Standards and Labor Productivity: Understanding the Mechanisms That Sustain Sustainability,“ found that businesses that implement Environmental Management Systems, for example, can profit from a staggering 16% jump in labor productivity. With employee output recognized as a key source of competitive advantage, this study demonstrates one substantial way in which corporate social responsibility can improve organizations’ overall performance and bottom lines.
Many studies have already shown that corporate social responsibility can improve companies’ financial performances. However, until this point there was little research on precisely how the introduction of environmental programs influence employee productivity and overall company performance. This study, which looked at data from over 7000 firms, reveals that employee efficiency is boosted due to an increase in worker commitment and organizational loyalty. Furthermore, environmental programs were found to be associated with better employee training and interpersonal interactions, both of which increase productivity and company success.
One cautionary point regarding the results of the study is that it relates specifically to the French context. More research is required to confirm the findings in another setting. However, the results are promising. They provide vindication for companies that have embraced CSR, and deliver justification for businesses that are considering investing in Environmental Management Systems or other environmental programs.