Employees Fight For Climate Change at Work
Updated: Dec 16, 2020
The number of consumers demanding climate justice and transparency around corporate sustainability has grown in recent years, but what are folks doing about it at work?
Remember those hazy months at the beginning of 2020, before Covid-19 had gotten hold? Well, one special day (February 7th) 8,500 members of the USA Union Local 26, which represents security officers, window cleaners, airport workers, and commercial and office janitors in Minnesota called a strike to improve their working conditions, calling for new business practices that would lead to a healthier planet. EcoWatch believed it to be the first union-organized strike for climate change in the U.S. The workers called for a $2 pay increase, six days of sick leave, more affordable housing, and for the companies they subcontract for- which included Target, UnitedHealth, and Best Buy- to take responsibility to reduce their impact on the climate by reducing carbon emissions, increasing recycling and composting wherever possible, and using eco-friendly cleaning chemicals.
They’re not alone: A survey by HR Magazine found that 61% of Millennials and Gen Z respondents surveyed said that it’s “important or very important” that the companies they work for to take a stance on issues that matter to them; Climate change being at the top of the list of their concerns. The concern about the impact of business on climate change goes across all fields of industry, too. Last November, Google employees demanded that the tech giant address their concerns about carbon emissions – they asked for a goal of zero emissions by 2030- and to stop donations to lobbyists and politicians that deny the climate crisis in an open letter.
With a year of protests and rising demands of accountability for corporations and businesses almost behind us, it’s hard to imagine employees will be taking the pressure off their bosses any time soon. An annual survey of Millennials by Deloitte showed that four out of five respondents said given the environmental impact of the current pandemic response, both businesses and government should make a greater effort to protect the environment.
Businesses that take climate change seriously also show a positive response from employees and prospective employees. Millennials said they are willing to stay at their current company for up to five years rather than change jobs within two years if the companies they worked for start to address employee’s needs including sustainability and climate action measures- an unprecedented find from the Deloitte survey in previous years. The same survey found that 42% of Millennials in Switzerland started or deepened a business relationship because of a company’s positive impact on society or the environment.
Wondering how to advocate for more sustainability initiatives at work? Saving the planet and delighting shareholders and customers aside, you’ll be scoring top brownie points with one of the most important assets your company has - their people.
How do you feel about your employer’s stance on climate change? And does it change how you see the company or your future at the company? We’d love to hear more! Join the conversations via our Instagram channel, or say hi to the team at firstname.lastname@example.org