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Research Reveals Sustainability Is Vital for Employee Attraction and Retention

April 16, 2021 | Insights,

Green credentials attract top talent, yet 40% say sustainability is not a priority for employers


New research reveals over half (53%) of the UK’s workforce say sustainability is an important factor in choosing a company to work for
However, 31% feel sustainability is just a tick box exercise for their employers
Investing in sustainability is a triple win; it supports the climate emergency, drives business value AND attracts top talent, says Anthesis

40% of UK workers are disappointed by the lack of effort and resource put into sustainability by their employer (survey of 1113 employed UK residents in February 2021), according to new research from Anthesis, despite over half (53%) choosing it as a key factor when making a decision about which company to work for.

According to a new study analysing the sentiments of different age groups towards choosing a company based on its sustainability credentials, Gen Z’s ranked the highest (67%) whereas to over 55s ranked the lowest (40%).

According to the new study commissioned by the global sustainability activator, the importance of sustainable credentials ranks highest for Gen Z (16-24 year olds), where over two thirds (67%) say it is somewhat or very important to them, with Millennials (25-34 year olds) not far behind at 64%. However, workers are unlikely to be fooled by ‘green washing’ or empty eco pledges. Despite the latest government figures estimating that UK businesses collectively spent £2.5bn on environmental protection, around a third of respondents (31%) felt their employers still viewed sustainability as merely a ‘tick box’ exercise.

Sustainability becomes a must

The survey suggests genuinely sustainable companies will attract and retain the top global talent or risk potential employees – particularly those in the early stages of their career – voting with their feet for an employer that gives them a sense of purpose.  With the UN naming the 2020s as the ‘decisive decade’ due to the ambitious action needed to deliver sustainable development, B Corp certified Anthesis urges businesses to take meaningful action across the most material global systems such as net-zero impact; carbon remediation; product circularity; land use; and inclusive economies.

Brad Blundell, UK Managing Director of Anthesis, commented: “Sustainability must become an integral part of an organisation’s business strategy; whilst addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems, it also impacts brand reputation and talent attraction. Some of the most sustainable companies are also the most profitable; it makes sense from every angle. It’s clear from our data that environmental-focused organisations, particularly those in the B Corp movement, will attract and retain more talent. With the likes of Greta Thunberg leading the youth movement, this trend is expected to escalate into future generations, positively pressurising organisations to commit to a more sustainable future.”

After the uncertainties of 2020, organisations need to refocus their ambitions, make up for lost time on their sustainability goals, and double down on their efforts to reach net-zero. Pleasingly, we have experienced a solid start to 2021, with many new and existing clients recognising the urgency of making sustainability happen.

Brad Blundell
UK Managing Director of Anthesis

Research Methodology
The research for Anthesis was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 12.02.2021 and 15.02.2021 amongst a panel resulting in 1,113 employed UK respondents. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2019) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (2018).

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