Study Shows Workers at “Green” Companies are More Productive


Apparently, environmentalism and economic growth really can go hand in hand. According to a new UCLA study, companies need not fear being hampered down by adopting green practices and standards. Workers in companies that do so are found to be 16 percent more productive than the average. The increased worker motivation stems from their appreciation for their workplace. This conclusion was obtains through a series of employee surveys at various companies. They found that green companies also had more advanced employee training than other companies, as well as greater interaction between coworkers.

The study was led by UCLA researcher, Professor Magali Delmas, and Sanja Pekovic from France’s University Paris-Dauphine. It is titled “Environmental Standards and Labor Productivity: Understanding the Mechanisms That Sustain Sustainability,” and published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

“Adopting green practices isn’t just good for the environment,” Delmas said. “It’s good for your employees and it’s good for your bottom line. Employees in such green firms are more motivated, receive more training, and benefit from better interpersonal relationships. The employees at green companies are therefore more productive than employees in more conventional firms.”

Productivity was determined by taking a company’s value added (aka profits), divided by the number of employees. This produced the average value of production per employee. After using this logarithm, they discovered a difference of one standard deviation, corresponding to 16 percent higher-than-average labor productivity in green companies.

Tools used by managers of these companies include green certification. Sometimes this symbolic gesture for a workplace can be a boost to morale and productivity. The certification can also be used as a marketing tool and shown off to investors as an indicator of good management practices.

“It’s a counterpoint to people thinking that environmental practices are detrimental to the firm,” Delmas said. “Green practices make a company more attractive because so many employees want to work for a company that is green, but we also argue in this paper that it’s more than just wanting to work there — it’s working more.”

“When you talk now to M.B.A. students, there’s a big change in the way they look at their future job,” she said. “They don’t want to work just to make money. They also want to make a difference. There’s a little more social consciousness than there was before.”

This study was published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior

Article by David A. Gabel, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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