A new study conducted by employee benefits technology company Zest has unveiled significant insights into the attitudes of UK workers towards sustainability in the workplace.

The findings reveal a growing expectation among employees, particularly younger demographics, for their employers to prioritise sustainability initiatives.

According to the research, a staggering 51 percent of employees express a desire for their companies to invest more in sustainability efforts.

This sentiment is even more pronounced among younger workers aged 18-34, with 61 percent advocating for increased sustainability investments.

A genuine commitment to sustainability

Despite a noticeable shift towards sustainability awareness within businesses, a concerning trend emerges among younger employees. A third (33%) of workers aged 18-34 feel that their employers lack a genuine commitment to sustainability. This perception is compounded by the revelation that poor sustainability initiatives adversely impact the morale of 42 percent of young workers.

Matt Russell, CEO of Zest, emphasises the urgency for businesses to align with evolving employee expectations: “With the next generation increasingly populating the workforce, many of whom are naturally engaged in sustainability initiatives that will support their future, businesses must adapt to these changing demands.”

The study underscores the importance of integrating sustainable benefits into employee packages, such as electric vehicle schemes and sustainable pension funds. Russell notes that prioritising sustainability not only enhances the overall employee proposition but also aids the UK’s broader journey towards achieving net zero emissions.

What role can employee benefits play here?

To bridge the gap between employee expectations and company offerings, the adoption of employee benefits technology is suggested. Such technology enables greater personalisation and flexibility in benefits, including more sustainable options tailored to individual needs.

However, the research indicates that there is room for improvement in this area, as only 29 percent of employees believe their company’s benefits platform adequately supports their individual needs. Additionally, 39 percent of workers express a desire for increased investment in benefits platforms to enhance accessibility.

Zest, with a client base comprising over 500 businesses across the UK, including notable names like Yahoo and Travis Perkins, aims to address these challenges. The company will host a webinar in collaboration with environment consultants Furthr on World Earth Day (April 22) to delve deeper into sustainable benefits and their implications for businesses and employees alike.

As the workforce evolves and sustainability becomes an increasingly central concern, the onus is on businesses to proactively embrace these changes to foster a more environmentally conscious and employee-centric workplace culture.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.