Mere 15% of employees believe company’s ESG initiatives are genuine
New research released by PLAY, a product development studio, has found that 77% of workers would like the company they work for to be more transparent about their environmental impact.
Climate change is front of mind with the study finding that employees are sceptical about their employer’s sustainability initiatives. Overall, only 14% of those surveyed believed that companies’ sustainability initiatives were ‘always’ impactful or genuine. This number fell to under one in 10 for general employees, compared with over a third (34%) of business leaders. This suggests that business leaders may be over-estimating the impact and value of their existing environmental initiatives for employees.
PLAY’s report surveyed 1,000 UK-based employees, split between 750 general employees and 250 business leaders/Chief Sustainability Officers, about their views on sustainability initiatives in business.
Are business leaders disconnected with their employees?
The report seemingly revealed a disconnect between employees and business leaders where the impact of sustainability initiatives is concerned. However, the study showed a consensus between both groups when it came to how best to support the fight against the climate emergency. Business leaders showed a willingness to support in improving sustainability goals and initiatives, but the research revealed there is a disconnect between their actions and words. While 82% of business leaders say they agree that their organisation should support employees to make sustainable decisions and display sustainable behaviours, only 38% of employees said that their company provides them with the tools and resources to build sustainable habits, and 22% don’t know if those resources are available to them.
Overall, 77% of respondents agreed that major behaviour changes are necessary to ensure individuals, companies and countries achieve their sustainability goals. This figure was as high as 90% of those in the legal sector, 88% of those working in finance, and 84% of those in IT. Business leaders (85%) were also more likely than CSOs (79%) and employees (75%) to agree, implying that behaviour change is a priority on companies’ radar.
Marcus Thornley, CEO and founder of PLAY commented: “Our research shows the need for business leaders to take sustainability initiatives seriously. There’s a strong desire from employees to get involved in their company’s sustainability projects, but these initiatives currently lack transparency and credibility. Businesses need to support employees with valuable and measurable sustainability goals and approaches, if not they will continue to see these projects delivering little success. 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.”