Workers willing to take pay cut for sustainability-conscious employers

22nd April 2021

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Deborah Shaw

Nearly half of workers would accept a lower salary to work for an organisation that is socially and environmentally responsible, a survey of over 14,000 consumers in nine countries has uncovered.

The findings also suggest that almost three-quarters of employees and employment seekers are more attracted to companies that are environmentally sustainable, with COVID-19 having made this all the more important.

Nine out of 10 respondents said that the pandemic had affected their views on environmental sustainability, more so than disasters due to weather events and news coverage on the topic, while half are now willing to pay a premium for sustainable brands.

Dr Murray Simpson, global lead for sustainability, climate and transition at IBM Global Business Services, which carried out the survey, explained how companies are now having to adapt to reflect their customers' principles.

“The survey showed respondents worldwide are increasingly concerned about the global climate crisis, and we have also observed businesses in many industries looking to take action to meet their customers’ and investors’ expectations and manage their own environmental goals,” he continued.

“We see many companies beginning to make strides to build transparent supply chains or improve energy management to reduce carbon emissions with the help of innovative technologies like AI and Blockchain.”

The survey was carried out in the US, UK India, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Brazil and China, with 73% of respondents saying that climate change is now very or extremely important to them.

The findings come just one day after separate research published by sustainability consultancy Anthesis suggested that more than half the UK workforce sees sustainability as an important factor when choosing a company to work for.

Its study of over 1,000 adults also found that 40% of workers are disappointed by the lack of effort and resource put into sustainability by their employer.

And despite the latest government figures estimating that businesses collectively spent £2.5bn on environmental protection, 31% feel that their employer still views sustainability as merely a 'tick box' exercise.

“Sustainability must become an integral part of an organisation's business strategy,” said Brad Blundell, UK managing director at Anthesis. “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. 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.”

Image credit: iStock

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