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How HR can ride the wave of the blue economy

When HR workers have positions at businesses in the Blue Economy, they stand to gain personal and professional benefits.

Human resource professionals involving themselves with businesses in the Blue Economy must know what they’re getting into. If they understand their purpose and learn how to prepare, they’ll be much more successful in their positions.

What Is the Blue Economy?

The concept of a Blue Economy focuses on the sustainable stewardship of ocean resources. Aside from the typical aspects of the marine environment like energy, aquaculture or tourism, it includes intangible things like biodiversity and coastal protection. 

Its purpose is to draw attention to the incredible natural value of living systems to incentivize ongoing action and widespread collaboration. After all, everyone shares the oceans. The Blue Economy’s ultimate goal is to improve people’s livelihoods, protect valuable resources and provide avenues for sustainable development.

Marine environments and coastal areas are highly valuable and generate trillions of dollars in revenue every year. The ocean economy has a global value of over $1.5 trillion annually, and it continues to grow. Although the Blue Economy’s purpose extends far beyond financial implications, potential monetary gains often incentivize companies to take part in sustainable action.

How Does the Blue Economy Relate to HR?

Many businesses are involving themselves with the Blue Economy, and while it is a broad concept with complex systems, HR plays a crucial role by helping to structure a company’s environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) goals. 

Since HR teams guide strategic change, the success of internal change often falls to them. As such, they play a significant role in their company’s involvement with the Blue Economy. It’s up to them to turn intangible business decisions into an actionable reality.

Why Should HR Get Involved With the Blue Economy?

HR teams may want to get involved with businesses in the Blue Economy because it provides valuable growth opportunities and can be very professionally beneficial. Nearly 60% of people leave their current jobs in search of a personally fulfilling role. 

If an HR professional takes a position where they’re fostering sustainable growth, they’re more likely to feel directly involved with their organization’s efforts. Plus, their role allows them to make a significant positive impact. Getting involved with companies in the Blue Economy could benefit them personally and create lasting environmental benefits.

Tips to Prepare for the Blue Economy

HR professionals considering taking positions at a Blue Economy business must prepare themselves before they get involved. Luckily, most “blue” practices mirror traditional sustainability efforts.

1. Review Existing Practices

Although 90% of business executives believe sustainability is essential, only 25% have implemented it in their practices. Although many companies care about the Blue Economy, they fail to deliver. To prepare for their roles, HR teams should review their existing methods to find areas of improvement.

Even those with sustainability practices often don’t audit themselves accordingly. Even though they seem to function fine, their values get lost in the layers of professional bureaucracy. It’s worth tracing the paper trail and verifying the business is taking action and meeting its goals.

2. Clearly Define Goals

HR teams should clearly define their goals to simplify future sustainability efforts. To do so, they must connect their positions to the Blue Economy, identifying how to support change within their organization. For example, they could review and adjust the company’s code of conduct to reflect “blue” efforts. Once they understand their purpose, they can move forward.

3. Develop Incentives

To prepare for their role in the Blue Economy, HR teams can develop incentives to encourage collaborative effort and establish strong relationships with employees. For example, they could allow remote work or provide compensation for public transportation use. After all, one of their main duties involves creating and fostering a specific company culture.

Plus, providing incentives translates to better performance and higher quality of work. People who feel content with their work are 20% more productive than dissatisfied employees. Studies show happiness directly correlates to workplace efficiency.

Even though investing in the Blue Economy can be initially expensive, HR teams should have no problem requesting additional funds since “blue” efforts are profitable. Around 86% of companies believe focusing more on sustainability will increase their revenue within one year.

4. Establish “Blue” Policies

Similar to how many eco-friendly actions are “green,” “blue” initiatives focus on protecting critical marine resources. HR teams could create travel, communication or energy consumption policies to improve their organization’s impact on the ocean’s living systems. Even if they don’t have positions in the Blue Economy, their indirect impact can still be positive and measurable.

5. Demonstrate Action

Overwhelmingly, almost 90% of employees feel their employers should affect positive environmental and societal changes. Further, 95% believe their workplace should provide tangible benefits to every stakeholder — not just the shareholders. To make this knowledge actionable, HR teams can demonstrate or visualize their efforts.

Since employees want to see tangible evidence of their employer’s commitment to sustainability, HR professionals can act as the in-between to provide them with the information. Employees are more likely to collaborate and feel personally motivated when they see how their interactions drive positive change.

6. Overhaul Recruitment

Since HR teams have so much authority in the recruitment process, it’s an ideal area to address when focusing on the Blue Economy. They can establish “blue” interviewing procedures or use hiring platforms to display their environmental awareness to candidates.

Younger generations highly value sustainability and are incredibly environmentally conscious, so they’re more likely to look for signs of progressive action in job listings. They often pay close attention to the company’s commitment to its ESG goals before applying. HR professionals can capitalize on this trend and overhaul portions of their hiring process.

7. Train for Sustainability

HR teams have direct contact with employees, giving them a unique opportunity to foster a mindful company culture. Ongoing meetings, education sessions or volunteer events can train employees to rethink sustainability and take an active stance in the Blue Economy. Plus, it helps them feel personally involved with their organization’s efforts.

When HR workers have positions at businesses in the Blue Economy, they stand to gain personal and professional benefits. If they embrace their roles in the Blue Economy, they have the power to foster lasting, positive change within their companies and the world. They can focus on driving specific sustainable change to accomplish this feat.

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