New Study Shows Employees Seek and Stay Loyal to Greener Companies

Dwight Sproull
Feb 14, 2019 · 3 min read
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Nearly Half of Employees Would Accept Smaller Salaries to Work for Companies That Prioritize Sustainability

With the release of major climate reports depicting alarming risks to the environment and economy, an increasing number of companies are establishing environmental, social and corporate governance initiatives. Swytch recently conducted a survey of 1,000 employees in the U.S. who either currently work for or have worked for a company with over 5,000 employees to explore their sentiments around employers’ corporate sustainability activities.

The survey results show that employees of all generations seek companies that have programs set in place to be more sustainable. Gen Z and Millennials in particular are the most enthusiastic about pursuing and staying loyal to greener companies.

When choosing a company to work for, over 70% of people surveyed are more likely to work for a company that has a strong green footprint. Nearly half of respondents are even willing to accept a smaller salary to work for an environmentally and socially responsible company. In fact, over 10% would accept a salary decrease between $5,000 and $10,000, and over 3% would even be inclined to accept a decrease of over $10,000 per year.

Younger generations feel the most strongly about their employers taking steps to increase corporate sustainability. Over a third of both Gen Z and Millennials say it would be a deal breaker for them to work for a company that does not have a strong sustainability culture, whereas under a quarter of Gen X and only 17% of Baby Boomers would agree. In fact, nearly 40% of Millennials have accepted one job offer over another because that company was sustainable.

Beyond just attracting new talent, Swytch’s study shows that creating and circulating long-term sustainability goals will also help a business retain its employees. Nearly 70% of respondents say that a strong sustainability plan would affect their decision to stay with a company long term. In fact, about 30% have left a company due to its lack of a corporate sustainability agenda and over 11% have done so more than once.

“Extreme weather events and natural disasters are serving as a wake-up call to the severe effects of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Evan Caron, co-founder and managing director of Swytch. “As a growing number of employees are eager to see corporations take a stand on environmental responsibility, employers will have to respond accordingly in order to attract and retain top talent.”

Other interesting findings include:

  • Over 35% of total respondents, and over 40% of Millennials, have committed more time and effort to a company because they were happy with its sustainability agenda
  • Across the political spectrum, both liberals (95%) and conservatives (89%) overwhelmingly agree that companies should be rewarded for producing and/or consuming renewable energy
  • Over a third of respondents believe that the national government should be primarily responsible for addressing climate change while nearly a quarter of respondents believe large corporations should be responsible


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