Sustainability big 'turn on' for employees but corporate desire is lacking

Business has a clear role to play in encouraging staff to adopt more sustainable lifestyles as office-based green actions are shown to be highly influential on a wider level.

New research has shown that nearly three-quarters (73%) of employees who participate in environmental and social responsibility efforts at work are more likely to make sustainable choices at home as a result.

However, only 21% of those surveyed felt confident about green business efforts, despite the majority (73%) expressing a strong desire to see their company and others make choices that benefit the environment and society.

Many employed adults revealed a gap in, or expressed uncertainty about, their own company's CSR practices. Two-thirds (67%) could not identify who at their workplace is responsible for sustainability, or said no-one is responsible.

In addition, nearly one-fifth (19%) of employees said their company does not promote sustainability in any way within the workplace.

The survey also found a strong link between knowledge gained about a company's sustainability efforts and intent to purchase from that company.

Three-quarters (75%) of employed adults said they would be more likely to buy a company's products or services if they knew it was making significant effort to adopt environmentally-conscious practices.

The US-based study from eco-consultancy Gibbs & Soell polled more than 2,000 American adults, half of which were employed either full-time or part-time.

Gibbs & Soell's managing director for sustainability consulting Ron Loch said the research set out to investigate the opportunity for business to influence consumers in the workplace.

"We found that the ripple effect of engaging employees in sustainability activities means they are more likely to practice sustainability at home and encourage neighbours to do the same. However, too few employers seem to be taking advantage of this opportunity to create green consumers," he said.

Maxine Perella


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