By Mike Mercer, Executive Director of the Northwest Earth Institute, originally posted on SustainableIndustries.com on September 14, 2010

With great regularity, employee engagement is touted as the key to shifting sustainability from its place in the silo of facilities, “green teams” and the committed few, to fully integrated into day-to-day operations.   In response, we educate our employees about sustainability, hold Earth Day events, provide volunteer opportunities to restore wetlands and put up signage to encourage more sustainable behaviors.

With all this effort, are the majority of our employees exhibiting any substantially different behaviors?   I suspect not.  If we were to survey our employees relative to their stated values and behaviors, it is likely their response would be similar to the results of a 2010 Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies study.  A sampling of these results demonstrates the significant gap between what people say is important and what they actually do: “The Say–Do Gap.”

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