Three-quarters of workers want their employer to be more transparent on sustainability, research finds

Poll also reveals business leaders are more likely to have a positive view of their company’s environmental practices

The majority of people want the company they work for to be more open about its environmental impact, a poll has found.

The 2021 Corporate Climate Crisis report from PLAY, which surveyed 1,000 UK employees in October 2021, found 77 per cent of respondents wanted more transparency from their employer on environmental impact.

Similarly, just 15 per cent of employees felt that their employer’s sustainability initiatives were always impactful or genuine, with business leaders more likely than general employees to feel this way (34 per cent and 9 per cent respectively).

Marcus Thornley, CEO and founder of PLAY, said the results showed most employees have a desire to engage with their company’s sustainability projects, but a lack of transparency made this difficult.

“Our research shows the need for business leaders to take sustainability initiatives seriously,” Thornley said, adding that “businesses need to support employees with valuable and measurable sustainability goals and approaches.”

The survey found 82 per cent of business leaders believed organisations should support employees in making sustainable decisions. However, just two in five (38 per cent) employees said that their company supported them in making changes.

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A fifth (22 per cent) of employees answered that they were unaware if there were any sustainability resources available to them, while just 43 per cent of employees said that their company’s actions on sustainability made a difference.

More than a third (35 per cent) said that they were unaware of what their company was doing to act sustainably, rising to two in five (40 per cent) for 18- to 24-year-olds.

However, while almost a third (29 per cent) of employees said that they would not work for a company that profits from unsustainable practices, only 22 per cent reported that a company having sustainability goals would influence their decision to take a job, with salary and office location still taking priority (65 per cent and 50 per cent respectively).

For half (49 per cent) of employees, eliminating the use of unsustainable materials is the most effective way that their organisation could improve their environmental impact. This was followed by measuring carbon outputs and carbon offsetting, and setting sustainability targets, with both suggestions important for 39 per cent of respondents.

Thornley encouraged companies to inform their employees about their actions on sustainability: “Business leaders need to change this to keep employees engaged, reimagining their approach to sustainability and implementing more innovative means of behaviour change and measurement supported by technology,” he said.