Green Initiatives in Financial Services | The Financial Technologist

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Many of us are beginning to understand the importance of addressing climate change and its n...

Many of us are beginning to understand the importance of addressing climate change and its negative consequences, and companies across the world are considering their environmental impact. It’s becoming clear that having an ESG strategy is beneficial for business, influencing a range of sustainability efforts in financial services – from sustainable investment networks to net zero plans. Firms are also starting to implement green initiatives in conjunction with their employees as an avenue to create positive impact. Green initiatives in the workplace can create multiple advantages for businesses and their employees, particularly around hiring, retention, and wellbeing. Improved talent attraction and retention for the younger generation The Millennial and Gen Z demographic cohorts make up a sizeable portion of the workforce - and their concerns over environmental sustainability are disrupting hiring and retention in financial services. Climate change is a top-three concern for both generations and this is apparent in their career decisions. One survey suggests that over 70% of millennials would be more likely to choose an employer with a strong environmental agenda, and younger employees are even turning down roles because of dissatisfaction with sustainability plans. “Climate quitting” is a growing trend, with 20% of 18-24-year-old employees willing to decline a role at a company with insufficient ESG commitments. Not only do Gen Z and Millennial employees want to see strong ESG commitments, but they would also like to be involved in company action around sustainability. Creating space for sustainability “champions” within the workplace may allow younger workers to address their concerns. Aligning green initiatives with employee benefit. If done right, the advantages of employee green initiatives can be twofold: they can help with progress towards companywide ESG commitments, while also benefiting employee wellbeing. For instance, the high levels of stress that financial services employees experience may be reduced when green initiatives are implemented. Some firms are offering their employees low- carbon holiday perks, which are additional paid days off for transport alternatives that have a lower carbon output. Green initiatives can also align with employee health benefits, with cycle-to-work schemes becoming increasingly popular. Finally, conservation activities can correlate with employee morale and team building. It has been shown that employees who spend time in nature together – such as through conservation volunteer days – see positive effects on creativity and performance as well as benefits to their wellbeing. Green initiatives can help a firm to achieve its corporate sustainability goals, all while benefiting employee attraction and satisfaction. While these initiatives may have marginal impact as individual items, collectively they can create much needed positive change for business performance, employees, and the planet. Allie Marchand is a Sustainability Consultant at Sustainable Trading, the non-profit member network helping the trading industry transition to a more sustainable and equitable future. For more information see Read more articles like this in The Financial Technologist. Download your free copy here.
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