People have become increasingly interested in environmental issues – it’s been dubbed the Blue Planet effect, following David Attenborough’s thought-provoking documentary.
For many of us, this is just the mainstreaming of an issue that has been building momentum for many years.
Indeed, according to a study by Forbes back in 2017, a staggering 81% of millennials (roughly people born between 1980 and 1999) were already saying that they would only purchase from companies who supply sustainable products. What’s more, in most cases, they were actually willing to pay more for sustainable products.
Consumers care about the businesses they buy from. While most businesses understand that using less resources such as energy, water and raw materials is good for their bottom line, these shifting consumer attitudes are motivating many more businesses to adopt greener practices too.
And leading businesses are realising a further advantage – that being green also gives them the pick of the crop when it comes to attracting new employees.
In another millennial study, this time carried out more recently by Deloitte in 2018, it was revealed that 41% of the UK’s workforce thought that meaningful work, that helped others, took precedence over a higher wage. It also showed that 31% of employees are actively concerned about the issue of climate change. Interestingly, 36% of employees admitted they’d work harder if their company actively benefited society.
In another study, communications agency Fleishman Hillard Fishburn found that 75% of millennial workers would take a pay cut to work at a purposeful organisation.
The Deloitte study highlights climate change as one of the top personal concerns for people aged between 20-36 and shows a strong link between the level of concern for climate change and the less positive attitudes towards businesses who aren’t acting.
Consumer goods giant Unilever has even confirmed that half its graduate applicants now cite the company’s ethical approach and sustainability work as the primary reason they want to work for the company.
In short, your colleagues are no longer just motivated by money. Jobs provide more than just an income. They provide purpose. For millennials their job is part of their identity, and something they that they want to be fulfilling and rewarding.
It’s worth remembering that by 2025, three-quarters of the working population will be millennials.
So, what does this mean for you?
If like many of our blog readers, you are working hard to get your senior management on board with resource efficiency, you have another string to add to your bow.
Improved staff recruitment and retention is yet another angle you can add to your pitch to your management team – in addition to reduced utility costs.
You might just find that the chance to save even more money, this time on recruitment and salaries, gets at least the attention of your Finance and Human Resources Managers.
If your business is already doing a lot to reduce its environmental impact, make sure you are sharing your achievements. Hopefully you’re already doing this through your staff communications. But why not showcase your work externally on your website, careers pages and recruitment adverts too?
We’ve got lots of free materials available in our staff engagement toolkit to help with your internal communications. And, if you haven’t got one already, it’s also a great idea to write and publicly share an environmental policy for your business. It doesn’t need to take a lot of time. If you can sum up your organisation’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact in less than one paragraph, you’re already halfway to formulating an effective environmental policy. Our environmental policy examples and checklist will help you quickly create an environmental policy worth shouting about.
If you think your business could do more to reduce its environmental impact, please remember we have a team of friendly advisors and lots more free resources here to help you.
If you’re a Scottish SME, we can provide you with a free assessment to identify new projects, and we can also provide support and interest-free loans to help you get your projects off the ground. Get in touch with our team on 0808 808 2268.
If you liked this blog post, make sure you sign up to our regular ezine, The Bottom Line. It’s an easy way to keep up to date with all the latest updates including grants and funding, free training, case studies, the latest blogs and other useful resources that can help your organisation improve its environmental performance, save resources and save money.