Less than one in five think their employer does enough to tackle climate change

Only 17% of professionals in Ireland think their employer is doing enough to help combat climate change.

New research from specialist recruitment company Robert Walters has found that despite 46% of professionals stating that their companies surveyed have clear, business-wide sustainability goals – efforts still seem to be falling short.

Despite the Irish government’s Climate Action Plan including targets to half greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero no later than 2050 – this year, the Republic fell six spots in the Climate Change Performance Index behind both Belgium and France.

Almost half of Irish professionals feel that sustainability and climate considerations have moved up their agenda in this year – whilst only 26% of Irish employers feel the same.

“All members of the Irish business community have an obligation to help reverse the dial on climate change – and commercial waste, commuting emissions, office energy usage all contribute a significant portion to it. So it’s understandable there is a mounting responsibility on companies to look at reducing their footprint," Suzanne Feeney, Country Manager at Robert Walters Ireland, commented.

Clear climate goals?

What’s worrying is that whilst 46% of Irish professionals state their company has a set of clear, business-wide climate or sustainability targets – the remaining 54% state that their companies don’t.

Sustainable deception on the rise

This January, the European Parliament adopted a directive to target greenwashing and ban the use of misleading and ambiguous environmental claims – giving the Irish Government two years to implement into Irish Law.

Only last year, the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI ) found that electricity companies in Ireland were misleading customers in their renewable energy claims.

How sustainable is your workplace?

Only 21% of respondents to a Robert Walters poll believe their workplace is sustainable – whilst the majority of over two-fifths state their workplace is somewhat sustainable and a further 37% don’t think their workplace is at all sustainable.

Indeed, 50% of professionals think their employer should do more to help tackle climate change through making their workplaces more sustainable – a quarter feel some efforts have been made, but there is still a long way to go.

Nitty-gritty of green efforts

An estimated 14 million tonnes of waste is generated by people living in Ireland every year. (source )

In light of this year’s Earth Day theme ‘Plastic vs. Planet’ – the Robert Walters poll also asked professionals who they thought the responsibility to control plastic usage at work lay with – 30% stated senior company leaders, 23% opted for office managers – however, almost two-fifths said that the responsibility lay with employees themselves.

Suzanne Feeney shares her top tips for sustainable business

Carrying out a waste audit – hiring an external provider to conduct a workplace waste audit, outlining areas for improvement and compiling an action plan of waste reduction.

Assign responsibility in your organisation – an increasing number of ESG-related roles are being created in organisations to set climate targets and form initiatives to reach set goals.

Partnering with an ESG consultancy – not only to help hold your company to account but to keep up with sustainable industry expectations as well as stay abreast of upcoming policy changes.

Offering sustainable alternatives – from keep-cups to reduce single-use plastics, recycled notepads and materials – offering more sustainable alternatives is a sure fire way of reducing unnecessary business waste.

Introduce collective sustainability incentives – work together as an organisation to decide sustainability incentives and goals, if everyone feels they have a hand in fostering greater sustainability across a business there will be more chance of it becoming a reality.


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