It is common knowledge that “going green” has a host of benefits for the companies that employ these practices. Improving corporate environmental operations has been known to increase brand value and strengthen the public’s trust. Doing business in a sustainable manner also exempts companies from numerous fines and fees, and occasionally qualifies them for certain tax credits.
As this positive trend continues, it has also branched out into other sectors that were previously unaffected. Traditionally, businesses were able to attract recent MBA graduates using salary as their main incentive, however this practice is rapidly undergoing extinction. Today’s students are growing increasingly likely to gravitate toward companies that realize the threat of climate change and utilize sustainable practices.
According to a recent global study, recruiting top talent is quickly becoming more dependent on factors other than salary alone. This study was conducted by Yale University, in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Global Network for Advanced Management, and it surveyed over 3,700 students at 29 of the world’s top business schools. What might be very surprising, is the fact that the results showed that 44% of business school students are willing to accept a lower wage to work for an organization with admirable environmental practices. Additionally, 19% said they refuse to work for a company with poor standards, regardless of pay.
Today’s business students want to work for companies that have developed committed and responsible leadership in the search for solutions to environmental issues. 92% of students stated that they believe climate change is already happening, and 64% said that they do not think modern corporations are doing enough to address the problem.
Those beliefs are not the only factor behind the recent push for more aggressive action in preventing climate change. 71% of business school students believe that environmentally-friendly companies see improved market competitiveness, and even more (80% – an overwhelming majority) consider environmental action extremely profitable, providing economic growth and job creation.
Overall, business school students desire to work for companies that do not delegate sustainability to a separate department. They want sustainability to be incorporated throughout the company as a whole – 86% agree that the reporting of financial and sustainability metrics should be integrated. Many also believe that both the positive and negative impacts of an organization’s activities should be measured and analyzed.
The companies that will be most successful at attracting new talent in the form of recently graduated MBAs will have aggressive approaches to thwarting climate change and will address issues through industry-wide collaboration. A resounding 90% of the surveyed students claimed that board-level action on environmental and sustainability issues should be instigated.
As time goes on, this trend is predicted to have relatively steady growth, according to the Yale study. Today’s business students want to work for companies with transparent and progressive environmental standards – this means more than just using recycled coffee cups in the break room. In order to attract top talent, businesses will need to take action and stay competitive with the responsibilities they take for preventing climate change.
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