It's official: employees want to work at more sustainable companies.
Sustainability and the overall climate crisis has occupied the minds of many in recent years, pushing more and more people to adopt environmentally-friendly measures in their daily lives. Just turn on the news and it's easy to see why. Record forest fires, global flooding, drought, super storms — we've clearly had an impact on our environment and Mother Nature isn't happy.
While many of us have cleaned up our acts at home, there are certain territories where we have less control; one of these being the office. A study by Essity shows that three-quarters of workers want more environmentally conscious offices that incorporate eco-friendly practices and green spaces.
While most employees are on board with pandemic-fueled changes to the workplace, not all employers are. If your office is tied to the old way of doing things, it's time to bring them into the new normal with our step-by-step guide to convince your boss into making the office more sustainable.
Step #1: Layout the Benefits of a More Sustainable Office Space
The first step in convincing your boss to adopt more sustainable practices is to show them the benefits. Sustainability is an investment, and like all things in the business world, your boss will want to see a clear ROI.
We suggest using a combination of both qualitative and quantitative benefits when making your case. Because while a more productive work environment is nice, your boss will want to see how sustainability can benefit the company's bottom line.
We've gone ahead and done the hard part for you. Below you'll find the benefits of a more eco-friendly office along with the studies that back it up. Each piece has been vetted and curated. Choose the 2-3 resources you think are best suited to convincing your boss to adopt more sustainably-friendly practices.
The effects of sustainability programs on workers can't be overstated. 96% of employees report that the company’s sustainability programs improved their relationship with the organization (ref).
Two studies from two different places found similar results. Reports from IBM and Unily both conclude that 65-68% of workers are more willing to apply for and accept positions from companies with robust environmental policies.
Further, sustainability helps retain top talent by reducing turnover. A Nielsen study found businesses can reduce average turnover by 25-50% by adopting sustainability programs.
Higher profits & improved operational efficiency
A primary reason companies refrain from eco-friendly practices is simply cost. It's a common misconception that eco-friendly means budget adverse. But this isn't always the case and eco-friendly alternatives can actually reduce operational costs and increase operations efficiency.
Shifting to eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives can save companies money — and not just in the long run. 61% of corporations that have made a business model change to increase sustainability report clear near-term profitability as a result of the change (ref). More efficient operations conserve resources, reduce waste, enhance worker productivity, and reduce overall costs. (link)
As sustainable energy and technology move closer to wholesale adoption, we can anticipate further price drops to follow.
Governments have set climate targets and will reward companies that help them get there.
Certain industries have more opportunities than others to take advantage of subsidies, especially if you can capitalize on Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) standards.
Here are just a few opportunities for subsidies:
- Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit
- Renewable energy tax incentives and credits
- Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
- Small Business Innovation Grants
- Green Jobs Initiative
- Emission Reduction Credits (ERC)
- Green community grants
Visit the following resources to see if any apply to your business.
Reputation and brand boost
The demand for corporate sustainability isn't just an employee concern but a consumer one as well.
58% of consumers consider a company's impact on the environment when considering purchases. (link) This number only compounds exponentially when looking at budding generations such as Millennials and Gen Z. 75% of Gen Z consumers are more concerned with a company's sustainability measures than its brand name. And as Gen X begins to overtake Baby Boomers as the generation with the most spending power, nearly 90% say they're willing to spend 10% extra or more for sustainable products.
So as you can see, adopting eco-friendly measures goes beyond the four physical walls of the office and can significantly raise consumer feelings of your brand.
For further reading:
- The Green Business Bureau: Financial Benefits of an Eco-friendly Business
Step #2: Audit Where You Can Make Sustainable Swaps
Your boss won't want you to come at them with an idea with no plan on how to implement it. Even if you sell them on the idea, be prepared for the bulk of this project to fall on you.
Come prepared with an audit of where and how your office can make sustainable swaps. Cultivating Capital is a leading sustainability consultancy with a simple yet comprehensive sustainability checklist to get you started.
Step #3: Make Sustainable Swaps with Simple Switch
Now for the easy part: making your sustainable office swaps.
At Simple Switch, we have thousands of sustainable and ethically sourced office products. All our products come from vendors whom we refer to as our "Impact Partners". We carefully vet each company annually on things like product sourcing, packaging materials and labor practices to ensure they're truly making a positive impact. Each product from our Impact Vendors is then approved on a case-by-case basis. You can read the full rundown of our base standards by reading our Impact Partner Commitment.
We make ordering with Simple Switch easy. Ordering is just as simple as if you were ordering on Amazon and all orders can be customized to your company's frequency needs. Set an automatic schedule for deliveries or make purchases as needed.
These are some of our favorite sustainable office swaps.
Step #4: Make Your Voice Heard with Remark
You've pitched your case to your boss and are met with resistance. Maybe the timing just isn't right for your company at the moment. Or perhaps your boss just needs a little more time. That's okay and can even be expected. In these situations, we have one last trick up our sleeves: Remark.
Remark is on a mission to help companies become more sustainable. They do this in two ways:
- Sustainability business services: Remark's team of experts can help businesses cut costs and attract new customers with low-cost (or no-cost) steps toward sustainability
- Stakeholder feedback: Remark's Android and Apple app allows stakeholders such as consumers and workers send sustainable feedback directly to company CEOs and decision-makers
Sign up for their bi-monthly newsletter for quick, easy actions to do what you can to combat climate change daily.
Step #5: Lead By Example
If all else fails, our final advice is to lead by example.
Clean up where you can and make eco-friendly swaps at your desk or cubicle. Swap out your desk lightbulb with an environmentally-friendly option (or even switch it off altogether), add a plant or two, open a window and take care of yourself when and where you can.
We've sourced a few personal sustainable desk swaps to get you started.
In conclusion, start small. Rome wasn't built in a day and motivating an entire company to adopt green practices won't happen quickly either. Unless you have a boss who's gung-ho on sustainability, you'll have to push for eco-friendly innovations one measure at a time. Keep at it, advocate for the environment and know you always have Simple Switch in your corner.