Navigating Corporate Sustainability with Innovative HR Strategies

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In the corporate landscape, the journey toward sustainability takes centre stage as companies grapple with environmental challenges. This research by Sunway University’s Dr Kavitha Sathasivam and colleagues dive into a case study of a company's transition through distinct phases - from realising the importance of environmental sustainability to embracing it wholeheartedly.

At the outset, the company's foray into green practices was superficial. The executive director admitted to merely seeking a 'green' label for compliance. However, learning processes and Bursa Malaysia's sustainability requirements revealed a more profound realisation. This prompted a shift toward an in-depth sustainability working model.

The company initially pursued green initiatives merely to meet compliance requirements. However, recognising the significance of being a sustainable business altered their approach. Bursa Malaysia's directive to disclose sustainability goals in annual reports became a catalyst. The company, operating in the electrical and electronics industry, sought long-term commitment models and collaborated with NGOs like Tzu Chi.

The company's environmental sustainability journey involved three main categories - green elements, Green HRM (Human Resources Management) practices, and supporting mechanisms. Recycling, energy conservation, vegetarian lunches, paperless systems, and eliminating plastic have gained prominence. Notably, green HRM practices like employee involvement, green rewards, and green training, supported by organisational culture and effective communication, played a pivotal role. An unexpected hero in this process was an NGO collaborating on recycling initiatives, environmental talks, and employee training.

As the company embraced environmental sustainability, it realised its role in advocating green practices. The shift in consciousness extended beyond the workplace, even influencing employees’ traditional practices, such as praying to reduce the company's carbon footprint. The outcomes were significant, with heightened environmental awareness among employees and a strengthened commitment to reducing global warming.

The study contributes to Green HRM literature by showcasing an NGO's role as a mechanism supporting Green HRM practices. The findings highlight the strategic advantage gained through Green HRM practices, organisational culture, and NGO collaboration. The study suggests that HR managers are vital in enhancing employee environmental awareness.

In conclusion, the company's journey from compliance-driven green efforts to holistic environmental sustainability, supported by Green HRM practices and NGO collaboration, stands as a model for businesses navigating the ever-evolving corporate sustainability landscape. The unexpected ally, an NGO, emerges as a powerful force in shaping a greener future for companies and the planet.


Dr Kavitha Sathasivam
Sunway Business School
Email: @email

This article has been adapted from Kavitha Sathasivam, Raida Abu Bakar & Rosmawani Che Hashim (2020), 
Embracing organisational environmental sustainability: Experiences in green human resource management, DOI: 10.1002/bsd2.133