With recession concerns and rising costs squeezing margins for many employers, 84% of CEOs in a recent KPMG survey said that they had cut or were considering cutting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs. Now, a new survey from Esker suggests that such measures may be short-sighted, as an employer’s demonstrated commitment to sustainability has become essential to many U.S. workers.
Conducted on March 8 by the third-party platform Pollfish, the Esker survey asked 600 U.S. salaried workers with middle-class incomes about the role sustainability plays in their choice of employers, their purchasing decisions in the workplace, and their personal investments.
Key findings from the survey include:
- 80% of respondents said it is either “extremely important” (48%) or “somewhat important” (32%) for businesses to “prioritize sustainability practices and values in today’s society.” Women valued sustainability practices more highly than men, with 84% of women calling them important compared to 75% of men.
- 76% of respondents said that sustainability practices and values are either “much more important” (39%) or “somewhat more important” (37%) to them than they were five years ago.
- 58% of respondents said they plan to consider a company’s sustainability record in their choice of future employers—up from 44% who considered this before taking their current job. This percentage shot up to 71% for workers under 35, including 81% of women under 35.
- When asked, “What specific steps toward sustainability should companies prioritize in 2023?” respondents said companies should
- practice energy efficiency (68%),
- reuse and recycle materials (65%),
- measure and minimize overall carbon footprint (57%),
- educate and train employees on sustainability practices (55%),
- work only with suppliers, partners, and vendors that practice sustainability (48%), and
- and reduce paper use (43%).
The full “2023 Esker Survey: Sustainability in the Workplace” report is available here.
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