The Sustainability Factor: How Businesses Can Embrace Sustainability?

BY Emma Thelwell   |  

We all need to start somewhere!

Sustainability is essential, not just a “nice to have”!

The recruitment industry plays a vital role in helping businesses to drive their growth and success. As the world faces increasing environmental challenges, the industry needs to consider its impact on the environment and take steps toward sustainability.

The advantages of addressing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues go well beyond this. These include improving your bottom line, maintaining consumer satisfaction, and adhering to local, national, and international standards.

Currently, employees, especially Generation Z1, consider working for organisations that prioritise environmental sustainability over ones that don’t because they are more conscious of their actions’ effect on the environment.

Now, let’s explore the importance of sustainability in the recruitment industry and some strategies organisations can adopt to reduce their environmental impact.

Understanding Sustainability Across Different Industries in the UK 

75% of British citizens2, according to a National Statistical Office study conducted in October 2021, are concerned about climate change.

Three issues from the respondents’ responses stood out:

  • They are concerned for their family and the next generation.
  • They experience fear and helplessness.
  • They worry about the cost of implementing eco-friendly measures.

Three times as many adults who expressed concern about the environment were likely to alter their habits.

In Great Britain, 81%2 of adults said they have altered their habits significantly to combat climate change.

According to a 20213 independent market study, consumers continue to place a high priority on sustainability.

Here are a few intriguing outcomes:

  • Consumer engagement in adopting sustainable lifestyles is at its highest level among 32%.
  • Due to environmental concerns, 28% of consumers ceased making product purchases.
  • Gen Z is leading all other generations in the adoption of sustainable behaviours.

Waste reduction, sustainable packaging, carbon footprint reduction, adherence to ethical work standards, and respect for human rights were the top five brand behaviours consumers seek.

According to a survey by Deloitte3, a poll of 1,250 British adults, 60% of them would choose banks that offered sustainable banking over those that had a negative impact on the environment. Furthermore, the respondents claimed that if they learned that their bank participated in environmental harm, such as the funding of fossil fuels, they would stop using it.

Customers are also buying fewer new clothing items, mending their garments, buying used or refurbished apparel, and choosing brands based on their sustainability and ethical standards as they shop for clothing and footwear.

Consumers’ growing interest in sustainability is also seen in their purchases of everyday household goods like cosmetics, where they are more inclined to shun single-use plastic and favour companies with ecologically friendly and morally upright business practices.

Why is Sustainability Important for Recruitment Businesses? 

Companies and brands frequently use the word “sustainability” these days, but what does it actually imply for the recruitment industry? Sustainability can have enormous advantages for businesses that adopt it. Some of them are mentioned below:

  1. Attracting Talent: Younger job seekers place high importance on working for organisations that emphasise sustainability. The likelihood that these applicants will be attracted by recruitment companies using sustainable practices is more elevated.

  2. Enhanced Reputation: Implementing ethical hiring procedures can enhance the company’s reputation and foster a positive brand image. Businesses that put a high priority on sustainability initiatives draw candidates with similar beliefs, which aids in attracting and retaining top personnel. Also, encouraging sustainable employment practices during the hiring process shows a business’s dedication to social and environmental responsibility, which can impress stakeholders, investors, and clients.
  3. Conformity to Regulations: The recruitment sector is extensively regulated, and using sustainable practices can assist companies in adhering to labour and environmental regulations. Companies that use sustainable methods might steer clear of infractions like discrimination and unethical hiring procedures.

  4. Increased Employee Engagement: The recruitment process might use sustainability initiatives to encourage employee involvement. Employees are likelier to feel happy to work for a company that adopts sustainable practices and to tell others about their experiences. Also, these can be used as team building activities, a win-win situation.

  5. Higher Innovation: Sustainability initiatives might inspire businesses to use greater originality and creativity in their hiring practices. Businesses that use sustainable sourcing techniques, including social networks, might find a variety of candidates that are not accessible through conventional sourcing techniques. Fresh perspectives, ideas, and solutions may emerge due to this skill variety, boosting creativity.

  6. Corporate Social Responsibility: CSR and environmental sustainability are given high priority by many businesses. Therefore, recruiting agencies must conduct their business consistently with these ideals. Now some clients are even requesting sustainability documentation prior to engaging with any of their supply chain.

  7. Lower Costs: While the upfront costs could be more, recruitment sustainability strategies can help businesses cut costs in the long run. Businesses will probably save money on numerous paper-related expenses when you embrace paperless choices. for instance, Saving money in the areas of storage expenses, printing costs, operational costs, and data recovery costs. With this, After the documentation has been digitised, sharing information with clients and co-workers is simpler. Sharing digital material can be quicker than sharing traditional copies, whether you're emailing a client a digital contract or a co-worker an annotated PDF.

Transparency: We Must Begin Somewhere!

Full transparency, we are at the start of our sustainability journey. We focused a lot on employee wellbeing this year, now we intend to focus additionally on business wellbeing and how we operate more sustainably.  ‘We need to start somewhere’ and we stand by that as a business, we have acknowledged that sustainability is crucial for the recruiting sector and all facets of life.

We may be just beginning our journey, but aim to advance within a year as we continue to think about the future and how we as a business can reach our sustainability-related goals. We are aware that, “only 11% of sustainability programmes make it from intent to action largely due to a lack of support.”Which is why we first want to speak with our people to learn what they are intrinsically invested in, so we can ensure everyone is on board to make this a success and not just another box ticking exercise.

To be quite frank, we are not subject matter experts in this space, so we have started working with Ecovadis as an independent assessor. We intend to utilise their benchmarks to guide our choices and internal consulting to inform our decisions.  Ecovadis focuses on more than just sustainability, it covers a broad range of non-financial management systems and scores them accordingly. This includes environmental, labour/human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement impacts.

More information about “our sustainability promise” will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

Stay tuned on our website and LinkedIn page.

End notes

  1. World economic forum: Gen Z cares about sustainability more than anyone else
  2. Office for national statistics: Data on public attitudes to the environment and the impact of climate change, Great Britain
  3. Deloitte: How consumers are embracing sustainability


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