Working for a company with a poor environmental record is making staff uneasy, and it could cause some of them to quit. Find out more about the rise of the ‘conscious quitter’ and what you can do about it.

It’s fair to say that running a business isn’t easy at the moment. Rising inflation coupled with increasing energy costs and an economic downturn are causing a few sleepless nights for bosses around the country. And now you can add ‘conscious quitters’, a new group of workers willing to leave an employer with poor environmental values.

A survey of over 2,000 UK office workers has found that over a third (35%) are willing to quit their job if their employer doesn’t take enough action to reduce its carbon footprint. Not only that, 20% are already unhappy with their employer’s current climate initiatives, with 32% not comfortable if their company cuts its sustainability programme.

“Businesses can no longer get away with changing or scrapping their sustainability initiatives at the drop of a hat,” says Michelle You, co-founder and CEO of Supercritical, a software platform that helps businesses get to net zero. “Employees are demanding more and employers are being held to account. Those that want to attract and retain top talent must start seeing climate action as a non-negotiable or risk being left behind.”

Added pressure

For businesses already under pressure from a shortage of skilled workers, the prospect of losing a proportion of their workforce due to not enough attention paid to the environment would ramp up those pressures further, and could severely dent the bottom line. And not only are these companies in danger of losing valuable staff members, their inadequate climate policies could put off new talent from joining the organisation.

Consulting company KPMG surveyed the work attitudes of 6,000 office staff, students, apprentices and recent university leavers, and found that 20% of them had turned down job offers because they thought a company’s environmental, social and governance factors didn’t match their own. This percentage was much higher for those aged 18-24.

Indeed, it’s Generation Z that’s leading the charge, with the Supercritical research finding that over half (53%) would be willing to leave an employer based on their net-zero credentials. A survey by British Gas also discovered that 71% of 15-25 year-olds consider having a positive impact on the planet to be a key factor when choosing their career path, with 94% of those seeking job opportunities wanting to help protect the future of our natural environment.

How Carbon Balanced Paper can help

So what can companies do to stop the conscious quitters and reluctant joiners? The key thing is to have a robust climate policy in place and follow through on your promises. Make clear commitments to the environment and outline how you will carry out those commitments to enable real change. If you lack the knowledge or time to do this properly, bring in an organisation that can – there are plenty of them.

One simple way to improve your environmental work is to join Carbon Balanced Paper. The Carbon Balanced Paper scheme enables brands to demonstrate their commitment to the environment while enabling partner suppliers and printers to carbon balance their paper and print services. In the eight years it’s been running, Carbon Balanced Paper has helped to protect land and forests that’s offset over 50,000 tonnes of CO2.

As well as helping to balance their emissions, companies can use the highly recognisable World Land Trust logo on their print and paper to communicate their support and corporate responsibility. The total amount of CO2 balanced and land area preserved is also stated on a unique certificate, which can be used for environmental reporting and marketing purposes.

Whether it’s helping to retain your current staff members or attract new ones, joining Carbon Balanced Paper will help reassure them that you do care about the environment, taking worker retention off your list of things to worry about.

For more information on World Land Trust, go to

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