There’s a renewable power source for driving climate action forward at your company: your employees. According to Kite Insights, 8 out of 10 employees are ready and willing to take action on climate change in their jobs, and 45 percent are ready to go even further and become pioneers of climate action within their teams and functions. And management appears to be listening: In its 2023 CxO Sustainability Report, Deloitte found more than half of C-suite executives said employee activism on climate had led their organizations to increase sustainability actions over the past year; 24 percent said it led to a "significant" increase.

As climate change becomes more of an unavoidable and disturbing part of their daily lives, employees are getting even more motivated to get involved at work. According to Drew Wilkinson, a remarkable leader who co-founded the employee sustainability community at Microsoft, "We’ve finally moved a critical mass of people from ‘why should we do anything about the climate crisis now?’ to ‘how do we do as much as we can as fast as possible and how do I uniquely contribute?’"

For many companies, employee engagement means individual actions: planting trees; recycling; even making green-friendly 401(k) investments. This is all valuable, of course, but these individual actions, even taken together, do not begin to address the scale and urgency of the climate crisis at this point in history. We are at a tipping point with limited time left to prevent almost unimaginable disasters, and must respond accordingly.

To achieve a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, as we must do to have any hope of meeting planet-saving benchmarks, we need the strongest federal, state and local public policy possible to drive change at the speed and scale required. It will take a plethora of policy advances across America to address all of the complex issues involved in the clean energy transformation. There is plenty for everyone to do — and employees can play a key role in turbocharging the action required to get us there!

1. Get the facts: Understand your company’s stance on climate.

2. Find your influence: Take advantage of your insider access to connect with colleagues who are key influencers and decision-makers (government affairs teams); map your connections and define the case for change.

3. Engage your co-workers: Host climate-advocacy events or start a working or employee resource group.

4. Advocate for action: Craft an effective action proposal, draft an advocacy letter, make the pitch and set goals on specific outcomes desired. Get clear on each next step and take each action one step at a time.

Read the full article about employees driving climate action by Bill Weihl and Deborah McNamara at GreenBiz.