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  • Nicky Webster-Hart

Sustainability in business can make a huge impact to your recruitment success

During the first COVID lockdown, I remember being told that energy plants were running at a limited capacity, not due to staff shortages or social distancing policies but because most office buildings were not using power as most office staff were working from home.

You see even when we were at our shiny offices with our colleagues, chatting over the coffee maker, our homes still used power, still had wifi. Shut down a large office block and shut them down everywhere, then that is a dramatic reduction in energy and resources.

The same was reported with rubbish collection, although there was an increase in domestic waste (no doubt also contributed to the fact that recycling centres were closed), commercial waste virtually stopped other than manufacturing and medical/health sectors.

It seems without even realising it many businesses became more sustainable when they moved to a remote model. Even those adopting a hybrid working approach of a mix of WFH and office space are reducing their carbon footprint by utilising already existing energy usage at home and/or opting for a shared office space environment where the energy use is shared.

It goes further than this, however, with humankind needing to exist within only a few degrees, we all have a duty to use what we have already around us to reduce climate change. Auxeris has been looking at how businesses can work to be more sustainable. Recommendations include:

  • Recycle and use less plastics in any office space you may have, whether fixed or shared (don’t forget those coffee pods).

  • Think. Do you need to print that document? Make it less easy to print with a forced pin code or card swipe at the printer/copier and see those printed copies decrease. No more unwanted printouts left lying around.

  • Offer a car-share or cycle to work scheme for those who need or want to travel to an office space.

  • Offer flexibility around wfh or office with your roles - ESG isn’t just about the environment, the social impact is important too. For some of your team they work better in an office environment (and for some work better remotely, we all learn and are productive differently).

  • Investigate the potential to use satellite offices in regional areas - helping to reduce team travelling. By using a shared office space you share resources such as electricity and a water supply.

  • Appoint someone to lead with ESG to keep you all striving for sustainability - just because your business isn’t carbon neutral now doesn’t mean it won’t get there, it’s ok to be trying so don’t stop or give up. What matters is demonstrating intent and policies to move you towards your goals.

  • Plant trees, lots of trees, without a corporate meaning or branding hack, just plant some trees. There are plenty of organisations that help with reforestation anywhere in the world, but if you have space in your garden - use it.

A business that shows strong sustainable credentials and commitment will be better placed to attract talent. Millennials and Gen Z'ers are really focussed on what their future employers are doing, what they care about and how they demonstrate theoir commitment to that. They want to know what your business intends to do to combat the wider issues within their local community or the many environmental challenges. Sustainability has big implications for business, talent acquisition and retention activities and even customers, so don't put it to the bottom of the pile. It will be the difference to attract new business, engaged talent and you'll be leading by example too.

What are some of the unique ways your business has approached sustainability? What would you like to see businesses do better? Let us know in the comments.

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