By now it seems most large employers have implemented or are developing some form of sustainability program. In recent years these efforts have moved beyond “green” iniatives such as reducing waste, water consumption and energy use, cutting emissions, changing lightbulbs or going paperless. Today, sustainabilty programs and goals set by employers often include supply chain, labor, community development, safety, and diversity issues and many others. Employers understand that sustainability efforts, when undertaken thoughtfully, improve the bottom line while also doing “good” for the environment and people. There may also be benefits that companies have not yet fully explored. A survey conducted earlier this year found a significant shift in employee attitude and career decisions relating to sustainability. Bain & Company surveyed about 750 employees across industries in Brazil, China, India, Germany, the UK and the US. Roughly two-thirds of respondents said they care more about sustainability now than three years ago, with almost that many saying sustainable business is extremely important to them. The survey showed that interest peaks among employees in their mid-30s to early 40s.
Acquiring and retaining talent is clearly important to employers. Employers who engage and energize employees with iniatives that align with employees’ interests are more likely to retain top talent. It seems that corporate sustainability efforts contribute to talent retention–so, consider adding this factor to your list when developing, and measuring the success, of your sustainability programs. In addition, consider better integrating sustainability into internal communications in order to maximize the potential benefit. Internal reputation management can be just as important as external.