A new poll has found that 3 in 5 Australian employees believe that their employers are falling short of their expectations in terms of environmental protection efforts and sustainability practices. This is a significant increase from the 25% who said the same in a similar poll conducted last year.
The poll also found that the next generation of workers is driving the charge for change, with 50% of under-25s saying that it is important or very important that their employer contributes to protecting the planet. This compares to just 33% of workers aged 49 and over.
Mark Smith, Managing Director of people2people Recruitment, says that the poll results underscore the growing importance of environmental responsibility in the workplace. “As businesses are increasingly evaluated not only on their financial performance but also on their environmental and social impacts, employees and candidates are demanding more comprehensive and effective sustainability initiatives from their current or future employer.”
While 40 percent of the workforce said it is ‘very important‘ or ‘important’ that their employer contributes to good environmental practices, 60 percent of employees do not consider working for a sustainable workplace as their top priority when evaluating their employer.
Smith says that this is likely due to the current economic climate, where Australian workers are considering other factors such as job security, the cost of living, work-life balance, and personal growth opportunities when it comes to their employment choices.
However, he adds that the poll reveals a growing opportunity for Australian employers to meet their people’s expectations, and drive talent attraction and retention. “Our employees are our most valuable asset. The expectations of our workforce and our customers have played a pivotal role in shaping our environmental efforts. It’s evident that consumers and investors prefer to support and invest in companies and brands that are socially and environmentally responsible, something that is increasingly becoming a reason for candidates to choose one job over another.”
Smith says that making environmental protection a priority is not only ethically responsible but also a smart business decision in the long run. “The poll highlights that nearly half of employers are falling short in their sustainability stakes. Various obstacles hinder the shift towards a more eco-friendly workplace, such as high costs, regulatory challenges, short-term business outlooks, limited awareness, and, as indicated by the survey, employee resistance. Nevertheless, it appears that we are approaching a pivotal moment.”
To bridge this gap and drive meaningful change, people2people has partnered with CarbonInvoice to measure their carbon emissions and plant the equivalent in trees in local communities. “We are committed to playing a part in reducing our carbon footprint. Working towards being a Carbon Zero workplace benefits the environment but also fosters our people to be positive and engaged, it’s drawn in our suppliers to support us along the way, and there are cost savings to boot.”
If you are a small business owner, there are a number of things you can do to make your workplace more sustainable, even if you have limited resources. Here are a few tips:
- Reduce your energy consumption by turning off lights and appliances when you’re not using them, and weatherizing your building.
- Recycle and compost as much as possible.
- Use sustainable products and materials whenever possible.
- Encourage your employees to work remotely and use public transportation or carpool when they do come to the office.
- Get involved in your local community and support sustainable businesses.
By taking these steps, you can show your employees that you are committed to environmental protection and sustainability. This can help you to attract and retain top talent, and improve your reputation in the community.