As the world grows more aware of sustainability and protecting the environment, job seekers are starting to pay more attention to these factors when looking for job prospects. This has been backed up by a 2019 survey, which showed that younger millennials and Gen Zs would be willing to take lower payrolls if it meant working for a business that helps the environment.

Now we’re looking at how sustainability in the workplace- whether that be green initiatives for employees, company policies, or carbon footprints targets – can help attract and retain top talent and how it could impact the future of recruitment.

What New Hires Know About the Climate Crisis?

80% of people surveyed said that businesses are responsible for the environment, 20% said they would consider not working for a company with harmful practices, and 26% said they would consider low payrolls – £8,100 on average – to move to a green-minded company. These figures target the huge moment behind the effort to protect the natural world and tackle heating.

The truth is, we’re running out of time to address climate issues, the scientists warned – therefore, concerns about sustainability are peaking. According to Edelman’s 2019 Trust barometer, 76% of the general population agrees that business leaders should take a stand on these issues.

Sustainability is Key

Another 2019 survey found that 28% of people said they would consider quitting their job in favour of organizations they considered to be more environmentally conscious. And these figures don’t lie, as we see more than 50% of people aged 23-38 supporting this belief.

This only proves two things; firstly, businesses that focus on investing in greener initiatives can attract top talent, and secondly, those who don’t face the challenges of retaining the workforce they already have.

These surveys demonstrate just how significant environmental issues are for U.K. employees and how they expect their leaders to contribute towards stopping climate change. For business, this presents a unique challenge but also an opportunity.

With a massively reported skill gap, employers have the opportunity to prove their commitment to reducing carbon emissions and helping tackle climate issues—a commitment which would make the difference in attracting the U.K.’s most sought-after workforce.

Similarly to its mounting role in attracting talents, companies also need to address their practices to ensure they retain employees. This proves that younger Millennials and Gen Zs are prepared to quit their job for a more sustainable role, therefore companies that can’t communicate their environmental experience could possibly suffer.

What makes a sustainable company?

As well as taking small, environmentally conscious decisions in our personal lives, we’re taking small green-minded steps at work too.

Environmental conscious businesses can take many forms. Some will emphasize office and incorporate more plants; others will shift to renewable energy suppliers or invest in plastic and cardboard waste balers, for example.

There are beehives installed on the roofs and living walls being added to the sides of the buildings. And there is a mounting number of green startup businesses whose very mission is to develop environmentally-conscious services and products themselves. Overall, it’s estimated that companies generate a fifth of all the waste in the U.K., and a significant 60% of all waste could be recycled. Even better, if every business would encourage team members to recycle at a central station per floor, it would have a great impact.

Sustainable Certification Programs for Companies – Gold for New Hires

Studies have shown that millennials are fast making up the greatest workforce generation in countries like the U.K. and U.S., and this set of employees have great expectations regarding job satisfaction. One way businesses could demonstrate their commitment to sustainability is by investing in green business certification programs.

These programs help ensure that businesses make a substantial commitment to sustainability through initiatives that can be implemented to reduce environmental footprint, enhance job satisfaction, increase employee productivity, loyalty and efficiency. What’s more, sustainable certification programs make it easier for businesses to provide social benefits that can attract and retain top talents. For instance, businesses that support sustainability initiatives such as donating a share of their profits to an environmental cause and allow for remote working are more likely to attract and retain employees than a business that does not adhere to social or environmental sustainability.

Examples of Companies That Are Making Earth a Better Place

  • Pavegen
    The founders of British startup Pavegen have developed special paving tiles that use an electromagnetic generator to convert footsteps into kinetic energy. Pavegen has installed its pads in 36 states in busy locations such as transport hubs and shopping centers.
  • Innocent Drinks
    They produce not only high-quality beverages, but also eco-conscious beverages. Innocent Drinks purchase fruits for its products through the Rainforest Alliance, which works with farmers to protect their rights and preserve the land’s biodiversity. The company has also been introducing recycled plastics in its packaging since 2003 and gives 10% of its annual revenue to charity and environmental causes.
  • Green Tomato Cars
    U.K.’s eco-friendly driving service now has over 600 vehicles in action and completes 10,000 journeys a week in its Toyota Mirai and Toyota Prius (which only emits water) fleet. The brand looks to eliminate the carbon emissions they cannot escape by planting trees, not to mention they’re also ISO 14001 certified.
  • Leon
    With over 60 restaurants and plans to open many more across the world, the Leon food franchise has replaced cutlery and plastic straws with biodegradable alternatives and uses only biodegradable packaging. More than a third of Leon’s menu is vegan, and the brand only sells Fairtrade, organic coffee, with returns going to the World Land Trust.

It’s not that easy being green. However, businesses who’ve implemented these sustainability initiatives in their practices have and will witness a significant impact on employee engagement – and the environment – making it well worth the effort. A more sustainable future doesn’t need to start tomorrow; it can start today.