With Earth Day approaching on Friday, April 22, it’s the perfect time for employers to consider how to incorporate sustainability into their employee benefits.

I recently talked to a couple of experts who explained that in addition to having a positive impact on the environment, offering “green” benefits and sustainability programs can improve employee engagement and have a positive impact on worker retention and attraction.

Susan Hunt Stevens, founder and chief executive officer of WeSpire, and Jennifer Robertson, Ph.D., an associate professor at the DAN Department of Management and Organizational Studies at the University of Western Ontario, offered their thoughts on the type of benefits and programs workers may appreciate.

Here are ten ideas to consider:

  1. Subsidies for using public transportation or biking to work
  2. On-site benefits like recycling and composting, green dry-cleaning services, employee-tended gardens or green space, and farm-share programs that provide discounted locally grown produce at work
  3. Campaigns that allow employees to bring their electronic waste—like cell phones, tablets or other hard-to-recycle items—to the workplace for recycling
  4. On-site charging stations for electric cars or e-bikes
  5. Subsidies, rebates or discount programs for energy efficiency upgrades in employees’ homes or for buying hybrid or electric vehicles
  6. Organizing or encouraging carpooling groups
  7. Tying a portion of employee bonuses to participation in impact activities such as volunteer work
  8. Offering environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment options in defined contribution (DC) plans
  9. Lunch-and-learn sessions on sustainable topics, such as reducing your carbon footprint or how to protect natural resources
  10. Paid volunteer time for ESG-related initiatives.

What environmentally friendly benefits are you offering? Happy Earth Day!

Kathy Bergstrom, CEBS
Senior Editor, Publications at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

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Kathy Bergstrom, CEBS

Senior Editor, Publications at the International Foundation Favorite Foundation Product: The Foundation magazines: Benefits Magazine and Plans & Trusts Benefits Related Topics That Interest Her Most: Financial literacy, health and wellness programs Favorite Foundation Conference Moment: Hearing attendees sing “O, Canada” at Canadian Annual in addition to hearing the anthem sung in both French and English. Personal Insight: Whether she’s collecting information for a magazine story or hanging out with her family and friends, you know Kathy is fully engaged. Her listening ear and introspective nature provide reassuring presence to those enjoying her company.

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