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What motivates you to give 150 percent at your job? Is it a friendly boss? Tasks that you really care about? Awesome clients? According to new research led by UCLA, employees of companies that adopt green practices are 16 times more productive than their counterparts in not-so-green companies. Researchers say this news refutes claims that international “green” practices and standards inhibit corporate profitability.

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The study was led by Professor Magali Delmas, an environmental economist at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and Sanja Pekovic from France’s University Paris–Dauphine. The results were published recently in The Journal of Organizational Behavior, and marks the first major study of how a firm’s environmental commitment affects its productivity.

In order to determine differences between worker productivity in green and not-green companies, the team collected data from a survey of employees at 5,220 French companies, randomly selecting two employees from each company for a pool of more than 10,000 people. Companies that had voluntarily adopted international standards and eco-labels such as “fair trade” and “organic” or the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 14001 certification were identified as green. Productivity was described as “revenue minus cost”. When divided by the number of employees in each firm, the researchers discovered a difference of one standard deviation, which corresponded to 16 percent higher-than-average labor productivity, in firms that voluntarily adopted environmental standards.

Why such a big difference? Delmas and Pekovic say it all comes down to a better overall employment experience. “Employees in such green firms are more motivated, receive more training, and benefit from better interpersonal relationships, explained Delmas. “The employees at green companies are therefore more productive than employees in more conventional firms.”

The researchers also say that this phenomenon echos changes in the workforce that have been noted in recent years. More young professionals want more than a paycheck–they want to use their talents to make a difference in the world, even on a small scale. Companies that demonstrate their shared concern for this mission are more likely to extract the best from their employees.


via Huffington Post