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What does sustainability mean to your organisation?


Look in any business or HR publication, our own blog included, and you’ll see that sustainability is a topic of deep and increasing interest. Last year a team of our graduates and apprentices took on a research project to understand sustainability and all its uncertainties for organisations.  


Customer insights 

As part of our research we were grateful to interview several customers of various sizes and industries. We explored what sustainability meant to their businesses, and what their goals and challenges were. The outcome of these was insightful and provided us with valuable information which will inform future activities. 

Our main findings from these meetings were: 

  • All the customers interviewed have carbon-based goals targeted between 2030 and 2050 

  • There is a mixture of roles responsible for meeting sustainability goals, including HR, procurement, facilities, and dedicated sustainability teams 

  • Nearly all interviewees spoke about the responsibility that every employee had towards their organisation being sustainable. Several offer informal and formal training to ensure a good level of understanding for all employees 

  • Lack of automation is a significant pain point across all customers interviewed. This is due to the heavy reliance on spreadsheets and administrative tasks 

  • Reporting is difficult due to non-standardisation around data collection 

  • Organisations with a mature sustainability approach still have challenges, such as showing that they are doing “enough” for the environment and that they aren’t penalising smaller suppliers with too strict sustainability criteria 

We came across some wonderful tried-and-tested employee initiatives, to encourage engagement in sustainability efforts, including: 

  • Employee pledges to improve their personal impact on the environment, such as pledging to go vegan or cycle to work for a month 

  • Using the onboarding process to train new employees in sustainability topics so that all employees are aligned with their strategy 

  • Making use of the WWF footprint calculator in employee education programmes 

  • Including sustainability awards in annual employee reward and recognition events 


Final Thoughts 

Sustainability is one of our core company values. Last year we launched our own sustainability interactive report which covers our approach to sustainability, and all that we are committed to achieving in the next decade. We are keen to support our customers in this important area, so our research continues.  

What does sustainability mean to your business? What sustainability challenges and goals do you have for 2023? We welcome your feedback and would love to hear where you are in your sustainability journey. 


By Hannah Jeacock, Research Director 

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