Employees at green companies more productive

Employees working at companies that voluntarily adopt international “green” practices and standards are more productive than employees at a conventional firm, according to study results published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Researchers randomly selected two employees from 5,220 French companies that had voluntarily adopted international standards and eco-labels such as “fair trade” and “organic” or the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 14001 certification for a pool of more than 10,000 people. Data were collected from surveys showing how much training employees received and how often they interacted with co-workers. Each company’s productivity was determined by taking a logarithm of revenue minus costs, divided by the number of employees, which produced the average value of production per employee.

Overall, study results showed 16% higher than average labor productivity in firms that voluntarily adopted environmental standards. The researchers also found that the survey results that favored training and co-coworker interaction also correlated with green companies.

“Adopting green practices isn’t just good for the environment. It’s good for your employees and it’s good for your bottom line,” Magali Delmas, an environmental economist at the University of California, Los Angeles, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the Anderson School of Management, stated in a press release. “Employees in such green firms are more motivated, receive more training and benefit from better interpersonal relationships. The employees at green companies are therefore more productive than employees in more conventional firms.”

For More Information:                                  

Delmas M, Pekovic S. Environmental standards and labor productivity: understanding the mechanisms that sustain sustainability. J Organ Behav. Sept. 10, 2012. [Epub ahead of print]

Disclosure: Delmas had no relevant financial disclosures.

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