We read with great interest over the weekend that Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, has announced via Instagram:
“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share. This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world. We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals.
I’m committing $10 billion to start and will begin issuing grants this summer. Earth is the one thing we all have in common — let’s protect it, together – Jeff”
Can we say, “This is amazing for Amazon! Will Amazon save the Amazon?” But enough with the puns. The fact is that Amazon must answer at some point to their own employees. Those employees are being constantly bombarded with climate crisis press about their delivering packages in fossil fuel vehicles and protecting them with oceans of bubble wrap. How do these employees feel when confronted by their friends and their own kids who must live on a damaged planet, knowing they are contributing to this legacy at their jobs?
Did Jeff Bezos finally see the writing on the wall? This is a human resources morale matter. People today increasingly want to work for and buy from companies that are not contributing to the fires, floods, storms, droughts, and extinctions. They want to know that somehow they are making a difference – in a positive way!
The problem for Amazon now is being accused of hypocrisy unless they quickly improve their own sourcing, deliver, and drayage. Why put out $10 billion to fight a problem your own company continues to exacerbate. So it appears to be a slippery slope – for the good! The grants are a great start. It’s a real statement. But it’s also going on record. Now Amazon employees will be expected to be practicing what they preach.
Also interestingly, the Aussies are starting to reexamine their commitment to coal. Now, with 90% die off of new coral in the Great Barrier Reef, the realization is “You can’t have both; it’s coal or the Great Barrier Reef!” The employees whose homes and jobs were hurt by the recent wildfires will be looking at their employers and their government for answers.
In the big companies, over the years, Human Resource Management has been slowly but surely expanding its responsibilities from payroll, hiring, and training, to evaluation, compliance, and education. They are keenly aware of workplace culture and morale issues. They announce that they are taking on increased turnover and lack of engagement.
But at some point on that quest, it’s top management that will set the tone for whether employees are loyal and proud of where they work or if it’s “just a job.” HR can only do so much without top management taking a leadership role in issues that affect the health and welfare of their employees and their customers. Employees want to know that, when they are going to work, they are making the world a better place – not hurting it.
We predict that more folks in top management will be feeling the pressure from their own people to conduct business in a sustainable manner. According to Nielsen, customers are already making the change with their purchases.
Bravo to Bezos! And we look forward to more companies increasing engagement and reducing turnover by listening to their employees on this increasingly relevant Human Resources issue!
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
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