First-time login tip: If you're a REBA Member, you'll need to reset your password the first time you login.
21 Jun 2024
by Scott Farquharson

Incentivise employees to join your organisation on its sustainability journey

Creating a sustainable benefits programme isn’t just about green initiatives, it encompasses wellbeing, inclusion and community, as Scott Farquharson explains

Incentivise employees to join your organisation on its sustainability journey.jpg


Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) is becoming increasingly important to your customers, employees, investors and shareholders. The cost of doing nothing could be severe, both financially and reputationally - it could mean losing competitive advantage, missing out on expansion opportunities and even attracting future regulatory scrutiny. 

Barnett Waddingham’s research shows that the majority of British people want sustainability prioritised in economic recovery, and many need to feel that their employer takes environmental issues seriously. With as much as a quarter of a company’s value being attributed to its reputation, it’s important to act now. A strong stance on ESG can significantly strengthen the Employee Value Proposition (EVP), helping to attract, engage, and retain talent.

Our recent research showed that only 12% of employers think short terms pressures, such as recent economic demands, will impact longer term goals.

Many organisations are already looking at sustainability from a corporate objectives perspective and, as part of that, are considering sustainable benefits for employees. Getting employees actively involved in ESG aims not only proves that you are taking sustainability seriously, but can help everyone feel like they are being empowered to make a difference.

Sustainability is more than just protecting our planet. So, when making benefits more sustainable, don’t just focus on green initiatives, think of improving wellbeing, reducing inequalities and helping your community.

What kind of sustainable benefits are available?

  • Cycle to work – This old-favourite allows employees to obtain green commuter bikes - including e-bikes - whilst spreading the cost over 12 months and making unbeatable savings through a tax break. 
  • Electric cars – Offering electric or low emission car leasing via salary sacrifice can help reduce the carbon footprint of your workforce whilst delivering notable employer National Insurance (NI) savings.
  • Easy volunteering – It’s estimated that around nine million  volunteering days are wasted every year. Help link employees to volunteering opportunities to suit them.
  • Carbon offsetting – Make it easy for your employees to offset their carbon footprint through monthly payroll deductions. Engage employees with prize draws, sustainable challenges, and app-based tracking.
  • Refurbished technology – Purchase refurbished technology through salary sacrifice and spread the cost over 12 months. A very affordable way to purchase technology whilst reducing the carbon footprint that building a new device would have made. 
  • Recognition – Instead of giving your employees a small monetary reward as recognition for a job well done, how about giving them the option of an impactful charity pot to allocate to one of hundreds of global vetted projects? Instead of a £50 reward funding a family takeaway, that cost could help to fund a full year of education for a child in a developing country.

Incentivising employees to make sustainable benefit choices

We all like to be rewarded for doing the right thing. So how about using sustainable pledges (such as tree planting, coral reef restoration or ocean plastic removal) to encourage employees to make certain choices? The idea is simple - an employee selects a green benefit like cycle to work, and their employer makes a sustainable pledge, such as planting 50 mangrove trees.

If you are worried about getting budget, you’ll be pleased to know that in many cases you can actually use employer NI savings to fund the sustainable pledges. When an employee chooses a voluntary benefit via salary sacrifice, they save income tax and in some cases NI too. The employer can also make employer NI savings of 13.8% on some benefits. 

Barnett Waddingham’s three stage approach

We believe that there are three key steps in ensuring that your employees actively engage with your sustainability journey:
1)    Make sure you choose employee benefit providers who have strong ESG credentials and also challenge existing providers to do more. 
2)    Help employees to become green by offering the option to select a variety of voluntary sustainable benefits.
3)    Incentivise employees to make greener choices by offering sustainable pledges to say thank you. 

At Barnett Waddingham we are leading the way by seamlessly integrating sustainability into our consultancy and our 4me benefit platform. For more information on helping your employees join you on your sustainability journey, contact Scott Farquharson or [email protected].

Related topics

In partnership with Barnett Waddingham

Everything we stand for at Barnett Waddingham is embedded in our promise – to do the right thing. We’ve applied this meaningful principle across all aspects of our business with continued success.

Contact us today