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Climate Quitters: How Can Companies Rise to the Challenge?
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Blog...Climate Quitters: How Can Companies Rise to the Challenge?

Climate Quitters: How Can Companies Rise to the Challenge?

Business
ESG
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What is climate quitting? How are ‘green considerations’ affecting the job market? And how can the adoption of an ESG framework help to attract and retain employees?
Business
2024-05-24T00:00:00.000Z
en-us
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Climate quitting is a newly coined term that describes a growing trend among employees. As the severity of the climate crisis becomes more apparent, an increasing number of workers are choosing to leave their jobs or decline a job offer when they feel that the employer's commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards is insufficient. This movement reflects a rising awareness and prioritization of sustainability and corporate responsibility in the workforce.

👉 In this article, we'll explore what climate quitting means, how ‘green considerations' are affecting the job market, and how the adoption of an ESG framework can help companies attract and retain employees.

What does climate quitting mean?

Climate quitting is an emerging trend in the job market where individuals are increasingly choosing to leave their current positions for roles that are more environmentally friendly or actively combat climate change.

So what has brought this about? Well, it's been catalyzed by growing awareness of climate issues and the unrelenting burning of fossil fuels. As we continue to see the increased effects of climate change, with more frequent heat waves, wildfires, and increased episodes of drought and flooding, more and more people are coming to the realization that they need to do more in the fight against climate change, something that even extends to their professions. Climate quitters are actively leaving their jobs on account of environmental considerations and are changing the dynamics of the job market in the process. 

employees giving each other a fist bump

The green job market

Climate change presents obvious risks, and the effects are undeniably negative for the world and our environment. However, alongside these negative effects are also opportunities. As we work towards reducing global greenhouse gas emissions there is the opportunity for the creation of jobs. It's estimated that as many as 24 million jobs could be created across the world by 2030 as part of the fight against climate change. The UK Government itself has stated that it aims to create 440,000 new jobs in green industries by 2030. 

In fact, we're already seeing the impact of this trend: in 2022, more people were employed by clean energy companies than by the fossil fuel industry! A 2022 LinkedIn survey also found that advertisements for green jobs have increased by around 8% year on year since 2015. 

💡 Did you know? Climate job creation outpaced overall job growth in 2022 in the United States.

Thankfully, we're starting to see a shift in the attitudes of job seekers and even those who are already employed. Recent research by accounting firm KPMG has found that 20% of UK office workers have turned down a job based on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations, and as much as half of employees actively want their employers to pursue ESG commitments. 

A Yale study even found that 51% of respondents would accept a lower salary if it meant that they could work for an environmentally friendly company. 

What research is showing us is that we're beginning to see a clear shift in attitudes across the job sector. This is good news for companies that already address ESG issues, but it should be a significant cause for concern for businesses that lack environmental commitments.

👉 It's worth noting that the trend is mostly being driven by younger workers and millennials with those ages 25 to 34 the most likely to consider climate concerns when it comes to looking for a new role. This is something that employers need to take note of because, by 2025, as much as 75% of the working population will be millennials. Companies need to consider their environmental, social, and governance commitments if they want to attract and retain talent. 

colleagues looking at computer screen

Why is climate quitting a problem?

Climate quitting is a significant threat to a company's recruitment. If a company can't attract top talent on account of its lack of ESG initiatives it's going to significantly lose out, and all aspects of the business's operations will suffer as a result of its decreased talent pool. 

Not only this but if a company is also losing existing talent, then it's going to have to spend additional time and resources to train and onboard new employees. Retention of existing employees saves companies both time and money. 

💡 The oil and gas industry, in particular, is grappling with these challenges and frequently ranks at the top of surveys as having the most negative public image. In fact, many former workers from fossil fuel companies are jumping ship to work in the renewable energy sector.

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How can companies prevent climate quitting?

With these shifting trends among job seekers and the rise of climate quitting among current employees, how can companies attract new talent and retain the talent they already have?

Companies need to focus on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values 

Let's start by defining what exactly we mean by this by going into each of the elements in a little bit more detail.

The E in ESG

The E in ESG stands for environmental factors. It includes a company's energy consumption, its carbon emissions, the resources it uses, and the waste it produces. These are elements that companies can no longer afford to ignore.

Reporting requirements in the UK with regards to a company's emissions and environmental impact are already becoming commonplace, but even where a company is not required by law to consider these factors, it should be looking to take steps to calculate its carbon footprint and environmental impact and then to implement changes to reduce these. 

The S in ESG

The S stands for social criteria and represents the relationship between the company and the communities and people who are impacted by the operations of the business. This encompasses considerations such as diversity and inclusiveness, which are also factors that potential employees look at when considering an employment offer.

The G in ESG

G stands for governance, which is the systems, controls, and procedures adopted by a company to govern its operations, make decisions, and comply with legal requirements and stakeholder expectations.

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Why is ESG more than a marketing exercise?

It's worth noting that each of these elements (ESG) is interconnected and overlaps one another. For example, environmental considerations will often overlap with governance where companies are subject to environmental laws and regulations, and social criteria will often overlap with environmental considerations as well. 

👉 To future-proof employee retention, a company must proactively address and take action on ESG factors. ESG is much more than a trend or a simple ‘marketing' exercise, companies need to go the extra mile. Greenwashing and surface-level actions are not enough, employees and clients alike can see right through these kinds of practices. 

ESG advantages

In addition to preventing climate quitting and attracting new talent, companies should also consider the adoption of an ESG framework for the following reasons:  

Competitive advantage

A company's ESG commitments can significantly strengthen its brand and reputation. When employers genuinely strive to reduce their carbon footprint, promote diversity, improve working conditions, and minimize their environmental impact, the positive effects extend beyond the immediate beneficiaries. These efforts can provide a substantial competitive advantage in attracting both customers and employees, positioning the company ahead of competitors who may lag in their ESG commitments.

Attracting investors

In addition to attracting customers and employees, a company's ESG credentials can also help attract investors. Recent studies have found that almost 89% of investors consider ESG issues in some way or another as part of their investment approach.

More sustainable company operations

Implementing an ESG framework can also benefit a company in a number of practical ways. For example, even if a company doesn't have to legally adopt any ESG practices, this is unlikely to stay that way in the long run. Therefore companies who take the initiative now will be ahead of the game when regulations are finally introduced. 

ESG also represents a cost-saving opportunity for companies. Many of the practices that fall under ESG (for example energy saving activities, reduction of waste, etc) actually save companies money in the long run.

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Looking forward

The job market is changing and there's no denying the impact that climate change is having on the employment sector. Companies that resist this change are fighting a losing battle.

Whether it's the legal and regulatory requirements that eventually catch up with them, the loss of customers, or the fact that they struggle to attract and retain employees, the bottom line is that companies across the board need to change if they want to survive.

Businesses need to take responsibility for their role in the climate crisis and take measures to reduce their impact on the environment. This means adopting an ESG framework that ensures environmental and social considerations are incorporated into every aspect of their business operations. Only by doing so will they be able to future-proof their business for the changes that are coming. 

What about Greenly? 

At Greenly, we can help you to assess your company’s carbon footprint, and then give you the tools you need to cut down on emissions. Why not request a free demo with one of our experts - no obligation or commitment required. 

If reading this article has inspired you to consider your company’s own carbon footprint, Greenly can help. Learn more about Greenly’s carbon management platform here.

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