Employees demand corporate action on sustainability

While workers demand corporate action on sustainability, they also exhibit a strong desire to be active participants in bringing about the change.

October 12, 2021

Sustainability actions of corporates often focus on reducing the impact on the environment, which is undoubtedly critical, but they must also consider how to align sustainability closely with people. After all, it’s people who we design buildings for, and it’s them who benefit from our efforts to make these buildings more sustainable. 

Our research shows that workers care about climate change not only at a personal level, but they want to see that their employers are also aligned with their values and are driven by purpose. We found that 78% of workers agree that climate change is one of the most important issues facing the world today. And they expect their companies to act on this challenge by proactively adopting sustainability initiatives. At least 7 out of 10 workers also believe that sustainability initiatives are a must for businesses today, and companies should follow sustainable business practices.

Traditionally, organisational change was driven from top to down, but the demand for change is now increasingly from the inside. This proves that while regulatory pressure mounts up, a push for stronger mandates on sustainability is coming from within corporates – from their workers. External forces are not alone demanding climate-positive transformation from corporates. They are joined by the most important stakeholders – people who show up every day at work and move the economy forward. Interestingly, we also found that the conviction about corporate sustainability is strongest among the younger workers, who incidentally also have the highest stakes in Earth’s future.

Furthermore, 65% of interviewed employees said they were unaware of their companies’ carbon reduction goals. Almost a similar percentage (60%) admitted that their companies did not actively involve them in sustainability initiatives. Being part of a company’s sustainability efforts can be a source of pride for workers. It also provides an opportunity for alignment between the values that the corporates and their workers hold.

This situation highlights a serious gap and one of the biggest opportunities for corporates to engage workers meaningfully while achieving their sustainability goals.