ESG: only a third of people think their workplace has a positive impact on society and the environment

ESGAccording to a poll from YuLife and YouGov, just over a third (39 percent) of people think their place of work has some sort of positive impact on society and the planet. This is in spite of the many announcements from organisations about how ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) can boost employee engagement and help them stand out from their competitors. With many businesses having upped their ESG investment in recent years,  the new YuLife-YouGov report claims to shed light on what UK working adults want and expect from their workplaces, equipping businesses with vital insights into how to focus their ESG programmes most effectively.

The report finds that many UK employees consider ESG initiatives to be an important factor in their choice of workplace. 42 percent of UK working adults agree that they are more likely to work for a company with environmental initiatives (such as recycling programmes, sustainable products and packaging, a walk-to-work scheme, etc.) over one without. 37 percent of UK working adults say they would steer clear from working for a company with poor green credentials. Despite this, the finding that less than half of all employees agree that their workplace makes a positive impact on society and the planet demonstrates that many employers need to bolster their ESG offerings.

Additional findings include:

  • 66 percent of UK working adults (including 73 percent of women) agree that volunteering positively impacts wellbeing.
  • A majority of workers (52 percent) feel that it would enhance their sense of wellbeing if their employer took them away from work to volunteer on a regular, fixed basis.
  • Most working adults (53 percent) agree that they are more likely to volunteer for causes if their workplace arranged it for them.
  • When asked to imagine working for a company that is investing in causes to tackle climate change and environmental issues 62 percent of working adults agree it would make them think more positively about their company.
  • 51 percent of UK working adults believe they are more likely to commute to work using environmentally friendly means of transport (walking, cycling etc.) if their employer incentivised them to do so.
  • 56 percent of UK working adults believe it is important that their company buys products and services from diverse and sustainable brands. Only 10 percent feel that is it not important at all that their company does this.
  • 44 percent of UK working adults believe it is important to them to have a say in the causes their company invests in.
  • ESG initiatives tend to matter more to younger employees. 66 percent of 25-34 year-olds agree that they’re more likely to volunteer if arranged by their workplace, and 62 percent are more likely to walk or cycle to work if incentivised by their employer.

“In the wake of the ‘Great Resignation’, employees are increasingly conscious about choosing a workplace which best fits their needs, preferences and priorities,” said Sammy Rubin, CEO and Founder, YuLife. “This survey clearly demonstrates that large numbers of UK employees want to work in an environment which makes a positive difference to society, but employers still have some way to go in order to respond to employee demand on this issue. With many companies’ budgets now tightening, it’s especially important that businesses don’t lose sight of this vital need, and ensure that ESG expenditure is well-matched to employees’ expectations.”