Benefits of working for a sustainable company
It is a fact that those students on the verge of entering the labour market are part of a generation extremely concerned about the planet they’re going to inherit from their elders. Over the last few months, that proactive concern has taken a qualitative leap thanks to #FridaysForFuture, an initiative that is mobilizing hundreds of thousands of youngsters all over the world in favour of actions against global warming and climate change.
What’s certain is that environmental protection is already part of the strategic actions being implemented by those companies aspiring to be sustainable companies. Contrary to lifelong organizations, which have been compelled to undergone profound transformations, for a great deal of new ones the green gene is already embedded in their DNA.
Brundtland Report’s milestone
Speaking of sustainability in the work environmentisn’t speaking strictly of ecology, however. In 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development issued a stern warning through the document Our Common Future, better known as the Brundtland Report. “Major environmental issues concerning the planet are the result of large levels of poverty in developing countries and the untenable production and consumption model of developed nations”.
The historic document served to introduce the antidote against the catastrophic situation foreshadowed back then: sustainable development, defined as “the development that meets present needs without compromising the capability of future generations to meet their own needs”. And a call was made for companies to make viable this worldwide strategy, which is built on three cornerstones: environmental balance, social balance and economic balance.
A historic agreement
In the year 2000, the necessary participation of the business sector towards the achievement of these objectives demanded by the UN was institutionalized thanks to the Global Compact. It was signed by more than 13 000 entities from 170 countries, urging companies to align their strategies and operations with the following 10 universal principles:
- Companies must support and respect the observation of internationally recognized fundamental human rights within their sphere of influence.
- Corporations must make sure that their companies are not accessory to violation of human rights.
- Companies must support freedom of association and effective acknowledgement of the right to collective bargaining.
- Companies must promote the eradication of any form of forced or under compulsion labour.
- Companies must seek eradication of child labour.
- Companies must support the abolishment of discriminatory practices in the workplace.
- Companies will have to maintain a precautionary approach that favours the environment.
- Companies must encourage initiatives that promote a higher degree of environmental responsibility.
- Companies must foster the development and spreading of environmentally friendly technologies.
FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION:
- Companies must work against all form of corruption, bribery and extortion included.
Already in 2015, the Global Compact translated those principles into 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030; zero hunger, quality education, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, and responsible production and consumption are among them.
The way to identify a sustainable company
On the basis of the Global Compact and its SDGs, Ricardo Dueñas Novoa, entrepreneur, editor and president of Global Compact Ecuador since 2018, has drawn up the following profile of a sustainable company:
- Instead of Corporate Social Responsibility, it shifts towards Sustainability: in order for any CSR action to be considered sustainable, “it must go the extra mile with deeds sustained over time, such as reforestation, recycling of materials…”.
- It identifies its interest groups and performs so that they operate the right way: “a responsible company is well aware of the needs of society and works in its favour continuously and with an eye to the future “.
- “Give the Earth back what you took from her”: in other words, actions that compensate for the use of natural resources or CO2 emissions. For example, starting an initiative on the part of the whole staff to plant trees.
- Its Corporate Social Responsibility issues are not reduced to a mere trend: “a responsible company works to make issues related to Agenda 2030 a profound and continuous conversational topic”.
- “Sustainability is within the DNA of its CEO, and it’s part of corporate culture”: a strong leadership in this matter is crucial so that every member of the organization engages in sustainable practices.
- “Sustainability must be part of business strategy”: That implies to work also on the professional environment, to adequate spaces for staffers and to align all members of the company with a strategy towards sustainability.
Three Spanish companies among the 100 most sustainable in the world
There are clear examples of sustainable companies in Spain that make serious efforts to deserve being in this Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World ranking, comprised of those companies with revenues above 1 billion dollars. Three Spanish companies are in the list of the 100 most sustainable companies, and one of them is ACCIONA.
For ACCIONA, sustainability is a “backbone” of the company, not only regarding business strategy, but also management of work spaces and attention to its professionals, who are proud to develop a professional career in the sector they trained for while contributing to help the planet.
Why are sustainable companies so appealing to work for?
Nowadays, sustainable companies are a powerful magnet for those seeking their first job or willing to switch companies. There are three main reasons for that:
- A sustainable company is a source of pride for its professionals.
- Companies’ commitment to sustainability implies that a company cares about their staffers.
- Sustainability merges corporate values with those of its professionals.
A fourth motive should be added; according to Annemiek Nusmeijer, founder of The Sustainable Recruiter, a Dutch company specialized in personnel selection which offers its services to organizations involved in sustainability practices, “sustainable companies have a better future prospect”.