Employees of large companies are allies – Milieudefensie

We examined the climate plans of 29 large companies. And those plans backfire. But are we now also against the people who work for those companies? No, on the contrary. Here are 5 reasons why employees are allies.

Environmental defense in conversation with employees
Many employees often work from generation to generation in these companies. Neighborhoods, villages and towns are intertwined with it and dependent on it. They often see the importance of sustainability for the future of their business better than the top. They also know better than anyone else how their business works and what is possible. Therefore, we will look for them from this summer and take a chat. For only together can we stop the climate crisis.

1. The top of the companies make the decisions
2. Employees can, and often do, create pressure
It is precisely companies that wait too long that endanger jobs
4. When the climate crisis gets out of hand, it hits us all
5. A fair and sustainable business is also better for the employees

1. The top of the companies make the decisions

The CEOs and board members of large companies make the decisions. They determine how high the climate crisis is on the agenda and what is being done about it. But in practice, the top often has more eye for the short term and profit. Climate is high on the agenda in far too few boardrooms.

Employees have often been associated with a company for generations and are used to looking at the long term. Whether a business still has a future is a logical question for them. They like to be proud of their business. If their business is doing poorly in the climate field, they will notice it. In practice, however, it is mainly the shareholders who decide the choice of the top. And shareholders rarely choose long-term. They would rather make a profit today than invest in making the business more sustainable.

According to FNV, we must not leave the climate change to the boardrooms of large companies. In a comment on our research into the climate plans of 29 large companies, Bas van Weegberg from FNV says: “The study shows that the large companies have to work much harder to achieve the climate goals. It cannot be done without the workers, because they are crucial for the transition to a green economy. ”

2. Employees can, and do, create pressure

The top can make the decisions, and the shareholders have great influence, but the employees are certainly not powerless. A good example comes from Tata Steel in IJmuiden. The employees of that company made themselves heard in 2021 because they believe that the company should become much greener. They realize that only then will there be a future for their business. The employees therefore came up with their own plan. They know better than anyone else how their business works and what the opportunities are for sustainability.

Environmental Defense supports employees. Our director, Donald Pols, said this about it: “You are not the problem, you are the solution. You want to ensure the transition to green steel. There must be a subsidy for that.”

It is precisely companies that wait too long that endanger jobs

The survival of companies depends on what they do now. Companies that continue to delay change are putting their own future at stake. And with it their employees’ jobs. Do these companies choose the future and thus the climate, or do they follow Kodak? Photo pioneer Kodak held on to the film reel for too long and missed the step to digital photography. Kodak stuck to the endless milking of an outdated product, just as many companies still stubbornly cling to an outdated business.

The employees therefore have every possible interest in the company they work for not getting stuck in the past. Not just because of their jobs. Therefore, they should also have an impact on the future of their business.

4. When the climate crisis gets out of hand, it also affects the workers

Companies that wait too long to trade are putting people’s lives at risk. Because in doing so, they consciously take the risk that the climate crisis will get completely out of control. Large polluters in particular have an extra responsibility to prevent this, also towards their employees.

Currently, the world is already more than 1 degree warmer due to climate change. If we do too little, it will rise to about 3 degrees by the end of this century. It may not even work out much. But keep in mind that the effects of global warming are already visible everywhere. Drought threatens crops, floods and storms flood cities. The most vulnerable people are already suffering from global warming. But even a rich country like the Netherlands increasingly has to deal with the consequences.

The climate crisis is also affecting workers in large companies and their families. Therefore, they have every interest in their company intervening and making it more sustainable as soon as possible. Employees who want to make their business more sustainable can count on our support.

> Read more about the consequences of the climate crisis for the Netherlands

5. An honest and sustainable company is also good for the employees

Most people are good. It’s not just the title of a beautiful book. Despite the misery that dominates the news, most people want to do good. We prefer to work for a company that treats its employees, the environment and the earth properly. A company that does not exploit people and drive them away from their land, not too far away where almost no one can see it. We like to be proud of the company in which we work.

Therefore, the employees of large polluting companies and people who are committed to the climate have more in common than you might think. And that is why we are also looking for the connection with the employees, in order to be able to work together to greener their company. Because it makes us all better. In fact, it is literally vital.

Together we get big polluters in motion

Only if major polluters also participate can we prevent the biggest climate disasters. That is why it is crucial that we jointly put pressure on the top of these companies: wemployees of large polluting companies, residents of the Netherlands and politicians.

Are you following? Sign our appeal to Climate Minister Rob Jetten. He can ensure that only companies with a good climate plan receive subsidies.

Leave a Comment