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Unlocking Ecological Mobilisation: 4 Key Levers

Change doesn’t just come from the top. Employees play a vital role in driving sustainability through daily green habits and innovative solutions.
As more organisations conduct carbon footprint audits and develop carbon reduction plans to support their climate transition, it’s crucial to emphasise the importance of employee engagement in these strategies. Active participation from employees is not just beneficial but essential for the success of these initiatives.

In this article, we summarise a French sociological study on the ecological mobilisation of employees and provide our perspective. We will discuss four types of mobilisation, who leads them, the key success criteria for effective global mobilisation, and some limitations to keep in mind.

Let’s dive in!

Current Situation

In 2019, ecological mobilisation in companies was mainly led by ‘lone wolves’—individuals driven by their values and energy without organisational support or a broader employee movement.

Since then, the phenomenon has expanded. Ecological mobilisation now involves a wider section of the population, and organisations are leading, structuring, and recognising these efforts.

For example, networks of ambassadors and CSR departments have become standard practice. However, we are still in the early stages of these efforts.

Why is it Important?

Ecological mobilisation accelerates:

Democratic Efforts: Organisations undertaking ecological transformations often adopt horizontal governance models, setting aside traditional hierarchies.

Sustainable Solutions: Organisations see improvements in reducing their negative impacts and enhancing their positive contributions.

So, how do we achieve this?

Four Main Levers for Ecological Mobilisation

Depending on your maturity level and objectives, consider the following:

Co-Creation Workshops: These workshops can be structural or occasional, facilitated by professionals. They allow participants to share experiences, ideas, and knowledge quickly, fostering new relationships and creating a sense of belonging that legitimises individual actions. (e.g. Climate Fresk, or Engagement workshops).

Training or Innovation Journeys: These journeys provide practical tools for those who want to develop concrete solutions. They transform individuals by enhancing skills, introducing new collaboration methods, and empowering participants. Unlike workshops, these courses unfold over several months and consist of multiple sequences with parallel work, acting like a rite of passage and marking a significant change in status. (e.g. our Innovation programme with Multipharma).

Platforms & Applications: Digital platforms engage employees through challenges, competition, and fun by awarding points for ecological actions and promoting pioneers who inspire their colleagues. These tools can reach a wide cross-section of the company, but for long-term effectiveness, they need to be supported by a community of employee ambassadors.

Networks & Federations: These networks are federations of groups of employee eco-activists. They provide a political dimension to employee actions by offering forums for inter-company exchange, lobbying management, and encouraging career development, such as becoming a union representative.
Source: BRISEPIERRE Gaëtan, La mobilisation écologique des salariés, Synthèse du projet #ECOTAF, novembre 2023

Who Can Lead These Initiatives?

Workers: Some employees bring their personal ecological breakthroughs to the workplace after facing the ‘insider activist’ dilemma. They stay out of loyalty or because they believe they can have the most impact within the organisation. Employees can propose workshops, initiatives, working groups, and discussion circles to advance their passions.

CSR Managers: Organisations can appoint individuals to meet sustainability KPIs, bringing coherence and setting priorities for all initiatives.

The Organisation’s DNA: In some organisations, the vision, mission, and values are revisited to integrate sustainability concerns, giving ecological mobilisation another dimension. This cultural change includes promoting employee awareness of environmental issues, fostering local ownership of CSR to encourage initiatives, deepening the integration of ecological transformation into the business, increasing understanding between the CSR department and other departments, and creating a culture of collaboration that breaks down silos and encourages innovation.

To keep in mind when developing your next initiative

To prevent your initiative from colliding with discouragement and glass-ceiling:
1. Diversify the target groups
2. Prepare your organisation for change
3. Develop employees engagement strategies next to your mobilisation initiatives (career development, etc.)
4. Be ready to change your organisational model 🙂


Employee engagement is a critical component of any successful ecological mobilisation strategy.

Accelerating the ecological mobilisation of employees requires better recognition of the methods that support it. By leveraging co-creation workshops, training journeys, digital platforms, and activist networks, organisations can foster a culture of sustainability that permeates all levels of the company.

Whether driven by individual workers, CSR managers, or a fundamental shift in the organisation’s DNA, these efforts can lead to meaningful and lasting environmental impact.

It’s interesting to start by supporting what’s organically already present in the organisation, and go from there. As ecological mobilisation continues to grow, it’s essential to harness the collective energy and commitment of employees to drive forward sustainable practices and innovations.

Source: BRISEPIERRE Gaëtan, La mobilisation écologique des salariés, Synthèse du projet #ECOTAF, novembre 2023

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