Four in Five People Seeking New Jobs Support Strong Green Policies

Published on: 04 October 2022
by KnowESG
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According to new Scottish Widows research, people prefer to work for companies that offer 'green pensions'.

Data from the pension, investment, and life insurance provider's first Green Pensions Report reveal employees' and employers' perspectives on sustainable workplace policies and individual practices. 

Climate change is an important concern for eight out of ten UK employees (83%) who want their employer to take an active stance on ESG issues and implement sustainable workplace practices.

One-quarter (24%) of employees mentioned support for more sustainable personal finances, including green pensions, as one of the top four benefits they expect from a new company, alongside flexible working (48%), cost-of-living support (39%), and an appealing vacation package (34%).

72% of workers believe their employer must invest their funds sustainably as part of their organisation's broader stance on critical social and environmental issues.

With a third (32%) of workers looking for new jobs and a further quarter (24%) expecting to apply for new jobs in the next year, the research implies that providing more sustainable pensions may provide a new opportunity for employers to attract and retain talent.

Despite this substantial employee demand, only a quarter (25%) of employers claim to understand green pensions. More than a third (37%) of employers claim to know nothing about them or have never heard of them.

Nearly half of companies (43%) defined a green pension as a fund that avoids investments in harmful industries such as oil or thermal coal plants. However, only one-fifth of companies (22%) acknowledged social and governance outcomes such as worker equity or the promotion of gender and racial diversity on corporate boards (17%).

With more than a third (34%) of employers acknowledging that they do not already provide a sustainable pension scheme to their employees, there is a large commitment gap in establishing workplace rules that positively impact ESG issues.

Maria Nazarova-Doyle, Head of Responsible Investments at Scottish Widows, said:

“Today’s workers expect employers to show true leadership and offer pensions that are invested responsibly. Demonstrating a genuine commitment to ESG priorities is not only the right thing to do for the planet, but it could also be a game changer for attracting and retaining the best talent. Business leaders have a real opportunity to show staff that they are serious about doing the right thing.” 

Many companies are still ignorant of how their current employee pension plans can jeopardise their efforts to establish more sustainable operations, owing to large investments in high-ESG-risk sectors such as coal, oil sands, and tobacco.

Source: Scottish Widows

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