by Allie Marchand
In the latest edition of The Financial Technologist, a magazine by Harrington Starr, Sustainability Consultant Allie Marchand shared her thoughts on green initiatives in the workplace and the benefits they bring.
Many of us are beginning to understand the importance of addressing climate change and its negative consequences, and companies across the world are considering their environmental impact. It’s becoming clear that having an ESG strategy is beneficial for business, influencing a range of sustainability efforts in financial services – from sustainable investment networks to net zero plans. Firms are also starting to implement green initiatives in conjunction with their employees as an avenue to create positive impact. Green initiatives in the workplace can create multiple advantages for businesses and their employees, particularly around hiring, retention, and wellbeing.
Improved talent attraction and retention for the younger generation.
The Millennial and Gen Z demographic cohorts make up a sizeable portion of the workforce – and their concerns over environmental sustainability are disrupting hiring and retention in financial services. Climate change is a top three concern for both generations, and this is apparent in their career decisionsi. One survey suggests that over 70% of millennials would be more likely to choose an employer with a strong environmental agendaii, and younger employees are even turning down roles because of dissatisfaction with sustainability plans. “Climate quitting” is a growing trend, with 20% of 18-24-year-old employees willing to decline a role at a company with insufficient ESG commitmentsiii. Not only do Gen Z and Millennial employees want to see strong ESG commitments, but they would also like to be involved in company action around sustainability. Creating space for sustainability “champions” within the workplace may allow younger workers to address their concerns.
Aligning green initiatives with employee benefits.
If done right, the advantages of employee green initiatives can be twofold: they can help with progress towards companywide ESG commitments, while also benefiting employee wellbeing. For instance, the high levels of stress that financial services employees experienceiv may be reduced when green initiatives are implemented. Some firms are offering their employees low-carbon holiday perks, which are additional paid days off for transport alternatives that have a lower carbon output. Green initiatives can also align with employee health benefits, with cycle-to-work schemes becoming increasingly popular. Finally, conservation activities can correlate with employee morale and team building. It has been shown that employees who spend time in nature together – such as through conservation volunteer days – see positive effects on creativity and performance as well as benefits to their wellbeingv.
Green initiatives can help a firm to achieve its corporate sustainability goals, all while benefiting employee attraction and satisfaction. While these initiatives may have marginal impact as individual items, collectively they can create much needed positive change for business performance, employees, and the planet.
You can read and download the latest edition of The Financial Technologist here.