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The Next Economy
New Study Cites Sustainability as Top Priority for Millennial Workforce

At this stage in the game, a company’s performance in regards to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues strongly influences its value in the eyes of investors. But such matters are increasingly becoming important considerations for the millennial workforce too.

According to a new study by research body Lightspeed on behalf of Rubbermaid Commercial Products (RCP), a brand’s commitment to sustainability — or lack thereof — is an important concern for millennials and one which will ultimately shape today’s workplace and its values. To attract and maintain new employees, companies will be required to surpass the status quo and get serious about putting sustainability strategies into action.

Recycling in the Workplace: A Millennial View explores the latest workplace trends, focusing specifically on employee attitudes towards their place of work. Key findings include:

  • Sustainability is a key consideration in relation to career. While 84 percent of Gen Xers and 77 percent of Baby Boomers cited working for a sustainable company as a top priority, approximately 90 percent of millennials identified sustainability as a crucial consideration when making career moves.
  • Millennials aren’t afraid to drive change in the workplace. Eighty-two percent of millennials look for opportunities to help their company become more sustainable and 67 percent feel they have enough influence in their workplace to make an impact on matters such as sustainability.
  • They believe recycling should be mandatory, but want to do more. Seventy-seven percent of millennials say they recycle at work, but 83 percent say they recycle at home, which suggests that recycling at work isn’t as straightforward. If their office provided more recycling points, 62 percent say they would recycle more at work, compared to 55 percent of Gen Xers and 58 percent of Baby Boomers.

Frequent movement between jobs is already common practice for the millennial generation and Lightspeed’s research suggests that nearly one in 10 millennials wouldn't hesitate to quit their jobs if they discovered that their employer was not sustainable. More than two-thirds of millennial study respondents also said they would abstain from social media for a week if everyone at their company recycled.

Commonly Underestimated Elements of Building Circular Models

Hear insights from Dispatch Goods, Kohler and Returnity on navigating and overcoming common barriers to building effective circular models — including designing for the specific context of the spaces key stakeholders occupy, educating consumers on optimal consumption and disposal choices, fixing existing issues around the “last mile” of circular models, partnering to unlock both the creation and adoption of circular products and services, and more — Monday, Oct. 16, at SB'23 San Diego.

“The findings of our recycling study show a tangible commitment to sustainability is a requirement for the next generation of workers,” said Anna Whitton, Vice President of Marketing at RCP. “Millennials are ready to make a difference and willing to turn down jobs that don’t align with their beliefs. RCP will continue working with this emerging generation to promote waste reduction and provide superior recycling solutions in commercial environments.”


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