A study just released by Adobe has shown it’s the millennials who are leading the way when it comes to sustainable practices in the workplace – especially when it comes to using technology to operate more sustainably. The younger age group of 18-34 year-olds have been shown to be more engaged and involved in their company’s sustainability practices while other age groups – especially the 55+ year-olds – tend to be more disconnected, according to the data.
Adobe’s new study is called Sustainability at Work and it shows that while the millennials are forging ahead, most Australians want to partake in sustainability practices with 62% of Australians believing their company wants to reduce the harm it causes to the environment. They also said they see sustainability as an opportunity for innovation, talent attraction and retention.
This is good news at a time when greenhouse gas concentrations and emissions are continuing to rise and climate change is at front of mind for businesses. The study found many workplaces are now using technology to operate more sustainably and reduce society’s impact on the environment.
The stats from the study show that 55% of Australians are involved in driving sustainability practices in their workplace but in the 25–34-year age group, 64% are involved and in the 55+ age group, 48% are involved.
Here are some additional key findings from the Australian study:
- As sustainability becomes a key issue for Australian organisations, the top three recommendations for sustainability in the workplace are recycling programs, reducing, or eliminating paper and plastic usage in the workplace, and prioritising renewable energy.
- In terms of prioritising sustainability in the workplace and realising overall sustainability goals, 75% of Australian executives surveyed said it is important for them to achieve high sustainability at work, but over a quarter (33%) Australian employees think their company is resistant to making changes towards achieving sustainability.
- Australians also believe their companies should be implementing more sustainability programs (50%), reducing, or eliminating paper usage (45%) and reducing or eliminating plastic (38%) at the workplace.
- 31% of Australian executives rank sustainability as one of their top ten metrics for business success.
- 64% of Australians agree that hybrid working can make businesses more sustainable.
- 68% of Australians think sustainability initiatives will be viewed as opportunities for innovation and thought leadership by 2030.
Hybrid working gets the thumbs up
According to the survey data, 64% of Australians believe hybrid working can make businesses more sustainable; the main reasons being reduced emissions (due to less commuting) in electricity consumption and office space required. Over 56% agree that everyone should help drive sustainability in the workplace equally.
Australia has long recognised the role of sustainable development for the betterment of the country, and most Australian organisations are holding themselves accountable by committing themselves to measurable sustainability goals.
Role of executives in sustainability at the workplace
In terms of prioritising sustainability in the workplace and realising overall sustainability goals, 75% of Australian executives surveyed said it’s important for them to achieve high sustainability at work, but over a quarter (33%) Australian employees think their company is resistant to making changes towards achieving sustainability. Australian employees are also clued into the benefits of sustainability at the workplace with the top three benefits being less harm caused to the environment, lower costs, and improved workplace culture.
While responding to questions about mindfulness in the office and individual involvement in the company’s sustainability practices, over half of the study’s respondents said they encourage others at work to be mindful of their company’s sustainability practices, whereas 53% said they would like to be more involved in driving sustainability practices in their workplace.
However, only 50% of Australian employees feel empowered to help improve their company’s sustainability practices, and 30% would only work for an organisation that prioritises sustainability.
Sustainability initiatives by Australian businesses
As sustainability becomes a key priority for Australian organisations, the top three recommendations Australians suggest about sustainability in the workplace are:
- Recycling programs
- Reducing or eliminating paper and plastic usage in the workplace
- Prioritising renewable energy
The study showed that Australian companies have a high focus on recycling (48%) and paper-saving sustainability programs (40%). Over 70% of respondents also believe that their company is in line with or ahead of other companies in their sector when it comes to implementing sustainability practices.
Around 62% of Australians believe their company wants to reduce the harm it causes to the environment. Approximately one third (32%) of Australian executives surveyed say their company has boosted its sustainability efforts to attract more prospective employees. The main ways in which Australian executives track sustainability initiatives at work are internal auditing and reporting (33%) and running employee surveys (33%).
Seabin is an organisation which is on a mission to solve the planet’s plastic pollution problems, one city at a time. The “100 Smarter Cities by 2050” action plan starts with Adobe Acrobat.
CEO & Co-founder of Seabin Pete Ceglinski said: “It’s that digital signature on a contract that starts the process of cleaning up an entire city for microplastics, plastic fibres and other pollutants. We can literally sign and send documents worldwide in a matter of seconds, share sensitive information protected by Adobes password-protect technology, and restructure all our documentation processes. Going paperless fits our sustainability agenda, it’s a no brainer for Seabin to choose Adobe as the most efficient and comprehensive solution.”
Future of sustainability at workplace: Mission 2030
The study also found people believe that one of the key opportunities for sustainable development in the future will include consideration of the entire supply chain. Almost 70% of Australians stated that sustainability initiatives will be viewed as a platform for innovation and thought leadership in the future whereas 67% of Australians estimated that companies will revamp internal processes to reduce their in-office and workspace environmental impact.
Australians also believe their companies should be implementing more sustainability programs (50%), reducing, or eliminating paper usage (45%) and reducing or eliminating plastic (38%) at the workplace. It was concluded through the findings that women more strongly support the reduction or elimination of paper and plastic at work than men.
Adobe Director of Digital Media B2B Strategy & GTM, Asia Pacific, Chandra Sinnathamby said: “The insights revealed by the study make it evident that Australian organisations are working diligently towards achieving sustainability through active initiatives. With a collaborative effort with employees, better usage of resources, adapting renewable energy sources and adopting a hybrid workplace, Australian organisations can champion sustainability in the workplace from leadership to employees.”
About the Research & Methodology: The Adobe Document Cloud Sustainability @ Work Study is based on a 19-question online survey of 1,009 Australians, aged 18 and older, who are employed, either full or part-time, to explore opinions and beliefs of Australian employees and executives about sustainable workplace practices in the present and their hope for the future of workplace sustainability. The sample is nationally representative in terms of gender, age, and location.
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