Question 4 : “Green HRM involves two vital elements: environmentally friendly HR practices and the preservation of knowledge capital”. Discuss elaborately.

Question 4 : “Green HRM involves two vital elements: environmentally friendly HR practices and the preservation of knowledge capital”. Discuss elaborately.

ANSWER : Twenty-first century has been showing heightened interest in the environmental concerns all around the globe irrespective of related fields be it politics, public, or business. The recent interest in environmentalism globally has arisen from specific treaties to combat climate change, e.g. Kyoto 1997, Bali 2007 and Copenhagen 2009 (Victor, 2001). Owing to the harmful consequences of industrial pollution and waste materials, including toxic chemicals, governments and NGOs round the globe promoted regulations and policies with effect of slowing down and to some extent even reverse the destruction of natural resources and its negative effect on the mankind and the society as a whole (Christmann & Taylor, 2002; Shrivastava & Berger, 2010).

Given the present situation the organizations have also to find out ways and techniques to deal with reduction in ecological footprints besides dealing with the economic issues. In order to attain success within the corporate community and to facilitate attainment of profit by the shareholders, organizations nowadays have to concentrate on social and environmental factors along with economical and financial factors (Daily, Bishop, & Steiner, 2007; Govindarajulu & Daily, 2004). The successful implementation of these sustainable corporate strategies within an organization requires both strong leadership and a concrete process (Glavas, Senge, & Cooperrider, 2010). The sustainability issue is fast moving up on the list of priorities of the leaders of corporate world as the awareness on incorporating “green” into the corporate strategy is making its way in business, but still the topic is not comfortable with most practitioners in the HR environment (Wirtenberg, Harmon, Russell, & Fairfield, 2007).

To implement any corporate environmental program several units of an organization HR, Marketing, IT, Finance, and so on, work together to put forward a positive joint effort and among them, the most important contributor is the human resource management unit. No doubt, the corporate world is a major stakeholder in the discussion about environmental issues and therefore conforms to be an important part of the solution to the environmental hazard. There is clear evidence that in the business world, a large part of the workforce feels strongly about the environment as employees today are more committed and satisfied with the organizations that take a proactive part in endorsing green. In the past two decades, a worldwide consensus has emerged around the need for proactive environmental management (González-Benito & González-Benito, 2006). Building upon this green concept numerous literatures on Green marketing (Peattie, 1992), Green accounting (Bebbington, 2001; Owen, 1992), Green retailing (Kee-hung, Cheng, & Tang, 2010), and Green management in general (McDonagh & Prothero, 1997) have impregnated the field of management. Moreover, the active participation of corporate sector in adoption of environment management strategies (Boiral, 2002; González-Benito & González-Benito, 2006), made way for green management prospective.

Human Resource Management (HRM) is an important faction of management that deals with the most valuable assets of an organization which is human resources. The whole context of HRM is currently being considered in the light of sustainability all over. Expanding the statement, we contend that Green Human Resource Management is the most significant element of sustainability. In this paper, we exclusively focus on the topic Green Human Resource Management (GHRM) where the Human Resource Management (HRM) is engaged in managing the environment within an organization. Mampra (2013) defines Green HRM as the use of HRM policies to encourage the sustainable use of resources within business enterprises and promote the cause of environmentalism which further boosts up employee morale and satisfaction. Others describe Green HRM as the use of HRM policies, philosophies, and practices to promote sustainable use of business resources and thwart any untoward harm arising from environmental concerns in organizations (Zoogah, 2011).

Green initiatives within HRM form part of wider programs of corporate social responsibility. Green HR essentially consists of two major elements namely environment-friendly HR practices and the preservation of knowledge capital (Mandip, 2012). Within an organization, human resource and their systems are the basic foundation of any business, be it financial business or sustainable business. They are the ones responsible for planning and executing those eco-friendly policies to create a green atmosphere. We argue that without facilitating the human resource and implementing sustainable policies, going green would be a hard nut to crack.

Though a substantial extent of existing literature deals with the topic of Green HRM, there is still ambiguity associated with the effective implementation of green HR management policies in organizations round the globe to attain absolute green corporate culture. This article comprehends how corporations are taking initiatives to endorse environment management program by developing human resource policies and ascertain different processes involved in green HRM on the basis of extant literature in the area. Further, we move on to reviewing the literature on the HR aspects of GHRM, which helps in identifying how corporations today develop human resource policies for going green. The study also aims to provide simplified insight on some common GHRM processes and attempts to suggest some green initiatives for HR.

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