(Certified Best Practice by BMPCOE)
Polaroid Corporation - Waltham, MA
Polaroid's training directors recognized that a successful environmental training program required employee support not only from a compliance perspective, but also from an ethical awareness perspective. As a result, Polaroid has developed a unique training program which successfully instills personal ethical responsibility and stewardship concerning environmental compliance and behavior.
Like most corporations, Polaroid had established regulation-specific training modules which offered compliance awareness as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Department of Transportation, HAZCOM, and other local regulations. This training focused on the technical aspects of environmental issues but failed to inform the employee on the ethical aspects. Drawing on Polaroid's success from its business conduct module on ethics, the developers of the environmental awareness program established the training as a co-sponsorship between Corporate Health, Safety, and Environment and the Office of Ethics and Compliance under an umbrella of corporate ethical behavior.
The Ethics and Compliance Awareness Training successfully changed employees' way of thinking (e.g., question whether the environmental procedure was valid; influence the way decisions were made; determine the environmental impact). The training featured two hours of business significance and legal aspects of environmental compliance, which was customized for the local divisions. Polaroid used local environmental managers as the program trainers. These managers were able to have their employees share ownership and responsibility for their particular local work area.
Support for Polaroid's unique approach was built by enlisting the endorsement of top managers throughout the company. A total of 29 trainers were trained to implement the program and were then allowed to develop specific guidelines unique to their areas. Polaroid initiated the Ethics and Compliance Awareness Training in September 1996 and has already trained more than 95% of its employees. Evaluation data indicates that 89% of the employees have a greater awareness of their own and the company's environmental responsibility; 86% have a better understanding of how the laws and regulations relate to their workplace; 82% will participate in identifying and correcting environmental problems; and 92% commended the program trainer on a well-informed session.
Polaroid's Ethics and Compliance Awareness Training has instilled its employees with a better awareness and greater sense of responsibility. The employees are more willing to impact environmental performance directly; identify risk areas that may have gone unnoticed; and contribute toward improving the company's environmental performance each year.