Sustainability and Employee Satisfaction

How Addressing People and the Planet can Benefit your Business

We’ve talked about the types of tactics employees can use to convince their leadership team to embrace sustainability, but what about the other way around?

Organisations are realising that sustainability can have numerous benefits for the company as a whole in what’s known as the Triple Bottom Line. The Triple Bottom Line refers to the three Ps – People, Planet, and Profit. By advocating for the first two, businesses have a good chance of increasing their profit.

One part of that is recruiting and retaining good employees. This can often be a costly challenge, as an increase in the global job market with remote work has turned the tide in job seekers' favour. By offering not only a great workplace, but a company driven by values, you stand to gain passionate and driven employees that care about making a difference.

How Does Sustainability Play Into Staff Recruitment

More and more employees are seeking out companies that share their values, whether that be ethical business practices, diversity and inclusion, or sustainability efforts (often, all three go hand-in-hand). In fact, a 2019 workplace survey conducted by HP found that 40% of office workers would look to change jobs if they didn’t feel their company was implementing sustainable business practices. Furthermore, 61% said that sustainability in the workplace is no longer optional, but essential.

Millennials and Gen Zers, in particular, are concerned about climate change and the devastating effects it can have on our planet. Another 2019 survey found that 70% of millennials were more likely to choose and stay at a company long-term if it had a strong sustainability plan in place. 10% of these respondents even said they’d be willing to take a pay cut to work for such a company.

High turnover within a workplace can not only be a costly expenditure, but also cause morale to suffer amongst the remaining staff. Recruiting, onboarding, and training all take time and energy, so it pays to have practices in place to minimise staff turnover and maximise job satisfaction. Sustainability alone won’t do that, but as the numbers above show, it is increasingly an important factor in how people perceive their jobs.

How to Foster a Workplace Culture that Values Sustainability

If you’re in a leadership position and want to make a change in culture at your workplace, here are three ideas to get you started.

Practice What you Preach

It’s not enough to make promises. Having a clear sustainability plan in place is great, but if it is filled with empty words and halfhearted efforts, it will not truly make a difference. Employees can see through these actions as nothing more than greenwashing, so it’s important to have clear goals and objectives to work towards.

Instead, ensure you set clear, achievable goals and contingency plans for when issues inevitably arise. Embrace sustainability at every opportunity and within every sector of the business and be a leader when it comes to change.

Allow People to Bring Forth New Ideas

Inspiration doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and it definitely doesn’t only come from the top-down. Encourage employees to bring new ideas and solutions to the table when trying to solve a particular sustainability challenge within the company.

While not all ideas are practical or enforceable, even just offering a space where people can bounce ideas off one another and share sustainable wins can help unify the team in the ultimate goal of a more sustainable workplace.

Embrace Transparency

Finally, be open and transparent with employees on where initiatives are at. Celebrate successes and find solutions to failures together as a company. Even if a sustainability goal hasn’t succeeded, a values-driven employee will appreciate honesty over cover-ups.

Everyone – from your stakeholders to your customers – should know and understand your company’s stance on sustainability.


Making sure sustainability is a top priority at your company and ensuring that your employees and stakeholders feel empowered to make their voices heard can have huge benefits. While it may not be the only thing employees care about, it can have a positive impact on recruiting and retaining values-driven, passionate employees.

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