Sustainability rates highly in employee expectations despite COVID-19 worries

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​The majority of UK office workers (83%) feel their company is not doing enough or could do more to improve their sustainability.

This reflects a larger cultural shift towards more environmentally-friendly practices which is impacting how workplaces function.

A new report by sustainability consultant Leyla Acaroglu and tech provider Unily found 80% of workers said their company’s environmental values are either not aligned or only partially aligned with their own.

From graduate entry level jobs through to senior management, there was appetite for sustainability pledges.

Sixty-five per cent of those surveyed were more likely to work for a company with a strong environmental policy and 63% said they would like to learn more green skills to become more valuable in the workplace, highlighting the demand from employees to play a more active role in making their business more sustainable.

Report co-author Acaroglu said we live in an age of rapidly evolving disruptions to where, how and why we do work.

She said: “We wanted to create this report with Unily in order to provide answers for the changes and challenges that this decade will bring for business. Every organisation will be at a different stage, as this report highlights the ways to engage with sustainability and multiple opportunities to lead through these complex times. The most important thing is getting started.”

Through trend analysis, employee surveys, expert interviews and case studies, the report highlighted “megatrends” changing the way we work.

These included transition to a circular economy, climate change adaptation, worker and supply chain equity, zero waste movement and COVID-19.

Demand for green jobs in the UK rose by 32% between April 2019 and 2020, echoing the trend to create more carbon-neutral and sustainable businesses.

Electronic vehicle benefit scheme Tusker makes sure both its cars and its processes are carbon-neutral.

Alison Argall, business development director, said: “Our processes are all environmentally friendly, with a paper-free environment at Tusker. Signatures for documentation are achieved electronically and virtual meetings take place throughout the implementation and management of the scheme. The marketing Tusker does is also carbon neutral, with digital assets provided and roadshows conducted online.”

The report included a toolkit for business managers and HR leaders to assess where they are on their sustainability journey and tips for how to improve.

It was conducted by Censuswide with 2,000 UK office workers in August 2020.

Further reading:

How can businesses become more sustainable

The rise of environmentally friendly employee benefits

Eco-conscious workers opting for less business travel

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