Companies that focus on environmental sustainability will find increasing favour with future employees, a new report has suggested.
The Sustainable Futures report, by global flooring company InterfaceFLOR, suggests knowledge workers, who account for about 42% of all employment in the UK, are increasingly motivated by the alignment of their employers’ values with their own. These values are becoming increasingly sustainability focused, the report said.
Nick Isles, director of advocacy at think-tank the Work Foundation, who wrote the report’s chapter on the Future of Employee Engagement, said: “Critically, this alignment will become a source of employee engagement and comparative advantage.
“However, the key must be to embed these values in organisational strategy.”
Lindsey Parnell, chief executive of the European division of InterfaceFLOR, warned that companies that rush to make sustainable claims they cannot substantiate will not stand up to scrutiny.
“This will damage the businesses and fail to achieve the business growth of proper sustainable investment,” he said. “In the wake of the Stern Report [on climate change], businesses have two choices: be driven by legislation, or make positive changes to their business to foster growth.
“Businesses that decide on the latter course have to invest in making it happen.”
InterfaceFLOR has committed to reducing its environmental footprint, and is aiming for zero environmental impact by 2020.
“For any organisation attempting to become more sustainable, there is a fundamental need to ensure the people within that organisation understand both the issues and the need for action,” Parnell said.