Human Resources Management and Sustainable Development

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Nowadays, sustainable development is a movement that is increasing in our society. Companies are progressively realizing the stakes of such policies, and are willing to have a try at it.

The triple bottom line definition of sustainable development (source: United Nations) stresses an equal importance of the social and economic dimensions with regard to the ecological dimension.

The sustainable development director of a company being usually inside of its human resources department, this department must therefore play a key role in the implementation of sustainable development policies. But what role exactly ? How can companies use human resources management to improve their sustainable development strategy ?

Sustainable development implies taking into account ethical values and principles. For example, a new trend in companies nowadays is volunteering. Many different projects are available to volunteers, depending on their will and their interest centres : humanitarian missions, reinsertion of unemployed people, etc. These actions, which depend very much on the willingness of human resources management to set them up, contribute to the good image of sustainable development policies implementation in companies. It is even more striking to employees and locals when companies choose to get involved in missions close to its activity, e.g. the Danone group gives away free yoghurts to African communities every year.

On the national level

Many actions including the social dimension can be undertaken in companies. This includes for examples an improved fairness in the hiring process (e.g. through interviewing methods, anonymous résumés...), a regular training of employees, a more flexible work, etc.

The most important part is to involve employees in the sustainable development process. Indeed, managers have the responsibility to spread sustainable development principles and to set them up, while employees realize them and keep them alive. If...
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