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15 surprising statistics about sustainability in the workplace

Sustainability in the workplace
Research-backed statistics that show the growth and state of sustainability in the workplace, and why it matters to employees and customers.

The concept of building a more sustainable workplace isn’t necessarily new. For decades, companies have incorporated environmental initiatives into their business practices to reduce carbon impact and market their planet-friendly practices. Sustainable business concepts can even be traced back to the nineteenth century, when many Victorian philosophers regarded conserving nature while increasing wealth as a moral societal duty.

Today, corporate sustainability programs are the norm. According to a study by KPMG, nearly all (96%) of the world’s top 250 companies report on sustainability.

“In recent years, we have witnessed a tightening focus on environmental, social and other non-financial factors that are critical for business' long-term viability and success,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, in the study.

Significant global paradigm shifts and evolving consumer attitudes on climate change are key factors that have sparked companies to level-up environmentalism and scrutinize workplace sustainability.

Additionally, workers are demanding their employers to take measurable, meaningful actions for the planet in addition to profit. Younger employees in particular are averse to working for companies that do not take environmental initiatives seriously.

The following statistics illuminate how all stakeholders — including employees, consumers, executives, and shareholders — regard sustainability in the workplace.

How employees regard sustainability in the workplace

88% of employees believe it is no longer acceptable for companies just to make money; companies must positively impact society as well. (Porter Novelli, 2020)

70% of employees won’t work for a company without a strong sense of purpose (Porter Novelli, 2020)

73% of employees are more likely to accept a job at a sustainable organization (TopLine, 2019)

74% of executives are “very concerned” about climate change (Deloitte, 2022)

How important is sustainable business to consumers?

51% of consumers say environmental sustainability is more important to them today than it was 12 months ago (IBM, 2022)

49% of consumers say they’ve paid a premium — an average of 59% more — for products branded as sustainable or socially responsible in the last 12 months. (IBM, 2021)

3 out of 5 consumers say socially responsible or sustainable products made up at least half of their last purchase. (IBM, 2022)

93% of people believe sustainability and social factors are more important than ever (Oracle, 2022)

70% of people would be willing to cancel their relationship with a brand that does not take sustainability and social initiatives seriously (Oracle, 2022)

How younger generations regard climate change

Graph showing the importance of sustainability when making a purchase.
Younger consumers care about sustainability when making purchasing decisions (First Insight))

24% of Gen Z says climate change is their top concern (Deloitte, 2022)

25% of Millennials say climate change is their top concern (Deloitte, 2022)

48% of Gen Z employees are putting pressure on their employers to take environmental action (Deloitte, 2022)

75% of Gen Zs think sustainable purchases are more important than brand names (First Insight, 2021)

How investors feel about sustainable business and ESG

79% of investors consider ESG an important factor in their investment decision-making (PWC, 2021)

82% of investors agree that companies should embed ESG directly into their corporate strategy (PWC, 2021)

85% of investors considered ESG factors in their investments in 2020 (Gartner, 2021)

Sustainability as a growing corporate value

Sustainable business is not a trend. Rather, it is a reflection of a systemic, worldwide values shift that prioritizes conservation and reduced environmental impact in all ventures. Not only do employees seek companies that prioritize green practices, but also consumers are more likely to pay more for sustainability produced items.

Learn more about building a sustainable workplace at your organization. Schedule a call with a team member today.


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