UK workers more vocal about climate change and the environment

UK employees are becoming more vocal on the topic of climate change and the environment in the office, with the amount of times employees mentioning the environment in the office skyrocketing in 2019.

This is according to Peakon’s report “2020 Employee Expectations” which found that in 2019 employee comments that mentioned environment-related issues nearly doubled, up 85 per cent on 2018’s total.

Globally, the number of employees that raised environmental issues rose by 53 per cent in 2019. Such terms as ‘plastic’, ‘single-use’ and ‘carbon footprint’ were the most used environmental topics raised by employees last year. For the first time, ‘Greta Thunberg’ was mentioned by an employee in the office during 2019.

Gen Z employees played a large part in this surge of environmental issues, with 128 per cent of climate-related comments coming from the generation. Millennials and Baby Boomers also saw an increase of environmental related comments by 62 per cent and 59 per cent respectively.

Phil Chambers, CEO and co-founder of Peakon said:

At a time when ‘zero waste’ has become part of our everyday language, and Google search trends on how to reduce plastic are at a five-year high, businesses need to understand that employees now expect them to take decisive action on environmental issues at work.

Addressing social issues like climate change is increasingly becoming an employee expectation, especially among the youngest members of the workforce. Gen Z has grown up amid an unending litany of social and political unrest, and place high value on the ethics, authenticity and social impact of employers today.”

In 2020, organisational positioning on social and environmental impact will become an increasingly important yardstick by which we measure businesses – both from a consumer perspective and an employee one.

Amid spiralling employee expectations, it’s become vital for organisations to engage in a continuous dialogue with their employees. Only then can companies hope to effectively understand and meet expectations before employees become frustrated, disengage and seek employment elsewhere.

Peakon collected this data by analysing 1.6 million employee survey comments in the UK and 14 million worldwide.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.