EMPLOYEES today are looking for more than just a job. They are searching for opportunities in companies with an environment-friendly reputation, according to a recent survey of workers across 15 countries conducted by Ipsos MORI, one of the largest survey research organisations in the United Kingdom.

Results showed that 80 per cent of workers between 35 and 54 - a key talent pool across all markets - prefer to work for a company with a good environmental reputation.

Corporations are increasingly facing demands from all quarters to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to buy and produce green products.

From airlines to banking industries, consumer products and chemicals, companies are beginning to realise that being environmentally ethical is key to attracting and retaining talented people.

As implied in the Ipsos MORI survey, green corporations keep employees happier and maintain their competitive edge in terms of human resources management and employment brand.

Effective initiatives

Twelve per cent of respondents felt that businesses and corporations should take the lead when it comes to limiting the effects of climate change.

Across most industries, a green company may be broadly defined as one that prevents pollution, reduces the consumption of natural resources and commits to cutting energy use.

For example, developing and sourcing environment-friendly technologies may be a major factor leading to increased corporate environmental responsibility.

Recycling programmes, water and waste reduction programmes and environment-friendly purchasing are perceived as being the most effective environmental initiatives in the workplace.

Adopting technology

Respondents were asked for factors that would most likely encourage their organisations to become more environmentally responsible than they are today. The availability of green technologies consistently ranked in the top two responses, and was first choice for those aged 24 and under.

This shows that having green policies or technologies will give companies an edge in attracting the best talent as younger people enter the workforce.

Technologies that reduce energy consumption, waste and unnecessary travel hold great promise for organisations that are seeking to enhance their green reputation and competitive advantage.

These can include greenhouse gas management programmes, using video conferences to reduce unnecessary air travel for employees and investing in efficient processes.

Globally, young people are more likely to embrace the use of new technology to help address climate change. The good news is that they are already accustomed to visual communication, having spent hours immersed in the world of online videos, interactive websites and open communication networks.

They are also receptive to other forms of interaction such as on-demand and face-to-face communication.

The adoption of green technologies is expected to continue as more companies recognise the need to implement measurable environmental programmes and address the needs of the younger workforce.

Green(er) pastures

Employees clearly want to feel secure in the knowledge that the organisations they work for have a green agenda, and that they are implementing practices and programmes to reduce their carbon footprint.

As time goes by, the market will see graduates choosing jobs with the most environmentally conscious companies, bringing about fiercer competition among organisations for the best talent.

A company's green credentials are becoming more than just a trend. Those that invest time, money and resources to go green are not only helping the environment, but can also attract the talent to keep their competitive edge.