A survey released yesterday shows that many Americans want their workplaces to be more environmentally sustainable, and employers should take note.
The survey was commissioned by Ricoh Americas and conducted by Harris Polls. The survey of 948 employees, people defined as having part-time and full-time work, aimed to measure how much people care about their company's sustainability practices.
The poll found that three out of four employees said they would insist on change if they saw an obviously wasteful practice at work. Sixty-seven percent said they would report if their company were harming the environment.
Perhaps most surprisingly, 44 percent of respondents said they’d rather be unemployed than work for a company that knowingly harms the environment. “People do not want to be associated with a company that is knowingly damaging the environment,” said Jason Dizzine, director or technology marketing at Ricoh. He also points out that the phrasing of the question regarding unemployment is very specific. “It’s not that they’d rather be unemployed than work for a company that doesn’t have the strongest environmental policy.”
It should be noted that the survey aimed to measure workers' general attitudes towards sustainability, rather than look for their opinions on specific sustainability practices.
Many Americans feel that they are being more sustainable at home than at work, with 68 percent of respondents saying that they feel they do more for the earth at home than at work.
Although more than half (59 percent) of surveyed employees were optimistic about sustainability in the future, it’s clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Thirty five percent of employees think their companies would sacrifice the environment to increase profits and 18 percent said they’d seen an environmentally harmful activity at work.
“Employees are demanding these types of commitments to sustainability and environmental programs,” said Dizzine. He says that if companies want to attract top talent, adopting environmental practices is a good idea. It’s no longer just government regulations or even customers that should make companies care about sustainable practices. “I think it’s clear from this poll that employees are expecting us to take action as well.”