Employees feel they are carrying the can when it comes to making their workplaces more sustainable

At Global Action Plan, we believe that everyone can make a difference, and that systemic change can come from behavioural change. If enough people lead the way, by separating waste, changing their diet and transport habits, and saving energy, others will follow their example, and companies will respond, too.

And all over the world, this change is already happening. But a new report suggests that people feel their employers are behind the curve.

Essity, a hygiene and health company in Sweden, undertook a workplace survey in Spring 2022 among 12,000 office workers from various European countries. 78% of people who responded to the survey indicated that the felt their employer could do more to create an eco-friendly office, and almost 60% felt their employer should communicate better about sustainability in the workplace. 

The biggest annoyances people reported were energy waste, for instance by lights left on in the office day and night, or heating that is set too high. Employees also indicated that lack of waste separation and low recycling rates were major irritants in their office lives. 


people working in an office
Photo: Unsplash


At Global Action Plan, we know that people’s concerns about climate change have increased in recent years. At the same time, the Covid pandemic prompted more people to start working from home, meaning that more people have noticed the differences between practices at work and at home: many feel that their employers are lagging behind when it comes to good recycling practice and energy awareness. 

This may be partly due to the fact that employees are not aware of the bigger picture. Many companies have developed Sustainability policies, which include larger projects – such as purchasing solar panels, changes in canteen food, or a reorientation of their supply chains – which may not be immediately visible to employees in their daily work routines. 

At Global Action Plan, we know the importance of engaging staff in all change processes. And we assist companies in their employee engagement strategies. 

The Essity survey showed that almost 7 out of 10 employees globally feel that they are left to take the lead when it comes to sustainability actions in their offices. But employees may focus unduly on some of the more tangible aspects of the sustainability efforts, such as recycling paper and coffee cups, without being aware of the other ways in which companies can reduce their carbon emissions and energy consumption.

We know that reality can be more complicated.
And we’re here to help your business on its sustainability journey.

Give us a call if you’d like to find out more.

business board room with windows
Photo: Unsplash
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