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Does your company have an environmental policy? Most employees don’t know

Federico Garcea, Founder and CEO - Treedom 

Sixty-four percent of European businesses have a sustainability policy in place but only a third of employees know about the impact it’s making on the environment. One in five also confess they actually do not know whether their company has a sustainability policy at all. These are findings from a new employee survey by Treedom, the world’s first digital platform for growing and gifting trees online. This survey is part of a campaign Treedom is driving across six European countries between Earth Day and World Environment Day. The goal is to grow 20,000 trees in a dedicated forest with the help of Treedom’s Community.

The survey of 7,000 workers across Europe* found that whilst business decision makers understand the need to implement sustainability policies and communicate with key stakeholders, employees are less aware of what action is actually being taken – fewer than a third of employees know about their company’s policy. But there is a clear desire to know more as 64% want to learn about policies, rising to 70% amongst Gen-Z.

The importance of ensuring the workforce has an understanding of such policies is paramount from a recruitment and retention perspective. 67% of employees agree that sustainability is an important factor when choosing which job role to apply for, particularly Italians with 86% saying it impacts their decision making.

So, what are the key sustainability drivers for employees when choosing a company to work for?

  1. Employees want to be proud of the company they work for (29%)
  2. Ensuring the planet is being protected for future generations (29%)
  3. Makes a positive impact on the environment (24%)

Which industries are the most sustainably minded?
In an age where consumers are looking to governments to take the lead on achieving net zero goals, it is surprising to note that one in three of those working within governments are not aware of their sustainability policy, and 37% don’t deem it important to know, according to Treedom’s research. Similarly, those working in education, helping to nurture the minds of tomorrow are also not in the ‘know’ when it comes to their own corporate sustainability. With over one third of education workers (38%) claiming to not be aware of what their company is doing to ensure a better future for our planet and for future generations.

However, for those working in marketing, 81% agreed how vital green initiatives are for businesses and three quarters of these workers are up to speed on their own company policies. This inherent knowledge on sustainability is clearly a need for external communications, as industry professionals know the positive impact it can have on not only company perception, but employee satisfaction.

What do employees want to see in a sustainable business policy?
For Europeans, the top three sustainability initiatives they want employers to consider include:

  • Prevent and decrease environmental impact (51%)
  • Ensuring constant improvements (38%)
  • Social impact – giving back to communities (28%)

Ultimately, a policy needs to demonstrate a positive impact that is able to clearly communicate to workers clear goals, actions and results. While 72% agree that current plans are making a positive impact, however, there is still some uncertainty with a quarter of Dutch, German and British workers who are unsure if any actions are having a positive or negative effect.

Federico Garcea, Founder and CEO at Treedom said, “There is a gap in knowledge and understanding between the decision makers who create sustainability policies and those who are the boots on the ground in the business. To achieve sustainability goals, businesses cannot work in silo, it has to be lived and breathed from the inside out. Employees need to be engaged in the sustainability journey to make a lasting positive impact as well as to remain competitive as a business by attracting the best talent.

“Through the seemingly simple act of growing trees and supporting communities socioeconomically by doing so, businesses can communicate with staff in an easy to understand, tangible way, that brings the act of sustainable living closer home and has a holistic impact not just on the planet, but people too.”

The need for education across businesses forms the foundation of Treedom’s European-wide Earth Day campaign, ‘We grow trees’, where Treedom is ‘growing’ three larger than life eco-friendly murals of trees on major city buildings in London, Berlin and Milan. The first stage of painting kicked off on Earth Day on 22nd April and will be completed by 6th May, one month ahead of World Environment Day in June. Treedom hopes that these life-sized works of art will spark inspiration, curiosity, awareness and initiate climate action, highlighting the important role growing trees plays in this.

It is Treedom’s goal to grow 20,000 trees in a dedicated digital forest between Earth Day and World Environment Day. Visitors to the murals will be able to scan a QR code and are taken directly to Treedom’s campaign landing page where they can find out more about the initiative. They will also have the chance to choose to invest in growing one of six specially selected trees in one of Treedom’s 17 projects around the world and receive access to an online tree diary to keep up to date with the impact of the project.

*Survey conducted by Opinium, with a total of 7,000 respondents across UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and France.

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