First things first, what is ‘climate quitting’? Essentially, it’s when employees leave their current roles in order to seek out a more environmentally friendly job or reject roles based on their social or environmental credentials. This is largely being driven by Gen Z and Millennial workers; a recent survey by KPMG found that a third of 18-24 year olds have rejected a job offer based on ESG commitments, and over half of 18-34 year olds value ESG commitments from their employer.
With increases in discussions around employment and recruitment in relation to ‘climate quitting’, this new wave of activity can’t be ignored. Purpose-led people and roles can bring about change like never before. Our Chief of Staff, Ally Boulton, shares some insights about climate quitting and how businesses can work with it, not against it.
The rise of climate quitting
Why has ‘climate quitting’ come around so powerfully?
“People want to be part of something. They can see that the climate is changing and they want to make a difference by being part of a solution rather than part of a problem,” explains Ally. “I’m actually not a fan of the term ‘climate quitting’, because ‘quitting’ as the word has negative connotations – the key thing is that nobody under this umbrella is quitting, they’re joining a cause which matters. It’s a good thing because it brings climate to the forefront of people’s minds. This topic has raised so much discussion and that in itself is a powerful route to change”.
On average, 33% of our lives are spent at work. So, employees and interviewees have questions around the roles they’ll be spending this time in and it alignment with what they want out of life. People are directly asking what they’re doing in their job that has the best impact, and won’t stay in or join a business that does nothing about the issues in front of us.
“Five or six years ago, people were looking for companies to step up on wellbeing and mental health policies, and that hadn’t been seen before. Things have changed since then, and workplace flexibility and openness has become ingrained in workplace culture – environmental commitments are becoming just like that,” explains Ally.
Nowadays, going to a company that doesn’t care about the environment, sustainability or the climate is just like going to a company where they say that you have to work 80 hours a week. People won’t do it, because the rhetoric has changed.
How businesses can ride with the wave
Businesses of different sizes, structures and industries will inevitably face different challenges based on their individual position, requiring a unique set of solutions and initiatives to both meet sustainability targets and maintain a fulfilled, driven workforce.
Not only is it the right thing to do, but the laws around sustainability are also changing. Businesses will need to publish increasingly in depth reports and adhere to stricter laws on their ESG commitments. Having conversations about it now and making small changes is going to make you ready for those bigger changes, and a team full of environmentally driven people will enhance this journey.
Making the most of the green skills rise, having internal people who have the knowledge and passion to diversify and drive ways to create positive change is an unmatched asset. There is an enormous opportunity for businesses of all shapes and sizes to provide and capitalise from creating and nurturing these roles. If people are leaving companies because they don’t feel empowered to align their day-to-day with their values, the best solution for businesses and employees is to move with facing the sustainability challenges we have.
“If we think back to a decade or two ago, the main safety and wellbeing procedures in place were first aid trainers and fire marshals – they were the key responsibilities within a company for certain areas of the law, to make it a safe and responsible place to work. You wouldn’t work in a place where they decided to turn the fire alarms off because it’s easier and cheaper,” reflects Ally. “Having a group of climate-focused people within your business means that you are able to talk about that duty of care to the environment, which is something new. It may sound a little bit alien to some people, but this is the way the world is moving – in a world where people are willing to ‘climate quit’, we need to take the values and needs for these internal conversations seriously, and see it as an opportunity.”
How we at Connect Earth work with ‘climate quitting’
As a remote-first company, we’ve needed to put a lot of focus into ensuring our employees are sustainably supported from their home working spaces. From choosing responsibly sourced desk equipment to ensuring working equipment is being transferred into a circular system when no longer needed, we look to reassure employees that their day-to-day lives will hold as little impact as possible. But as a more integral part of our company culture, we look to engage everyone in the sustainability conversation.
We hold a weekly ‘all hands’ team meeting and disucss a ‘sustainability thought of the week’. Whether it’s a piece of news, an article, research results or even just a thought, we look to shine a light on what’s happening in the world and approach this through an inclusive space where all voices are heard. These conversations are a catalyst for insightful discussions and enrich our Net Zero plan, our values and the work we put out into the world. We all come away learning something new, feeling driven and ultimately feeling as though what we do here at Connect Earth matters.
The intangible benefits of a fulfilled team
“As Chief of Staff, I always want people to learn and grow, and I’m passionate about cultivating a workplace culture that encourages this and enables people to thrive in their values. As a company, our workforce is made up of people who want to be part of something different. They can see the ambition of what Connect Earth is trying to do and we know that we need to practice what we preach in terms of our sustainability commitments, and hold open dialogues about it,” explains Ally.
Coming from an entirely social perspective, people enjoy working in a place that they can feel proud to work in. If you look at LinkedIn, people are constantly bringing awareness to their workplace achievements – open kudos has become a natural thing, and brands should be looking to genuinely capitalise on that. There is opportunity like never before for companies to gain authentic credibility about their socio-environmental practices through inspiring and enabling a fulfilled employee network. “In today’s world, people trust people, not companies, so give them something inspiring to shout about on their social media,” adds Ally.
What ‘climate quitting’ represents and it’s impact on the financial sector
The fact that people are prepared to quit their jobs or look around for roles which align with their values, and give themselves more instability at a time when there is so much uncertainty speaks volumes. The passion for people to be part of something which makes a difference demonstrates the significant power there is to make a difference. Companies that don’t listen to this are missing the mark.
In the financial sector the rhetoric around climate change, responsible spending and investing has also seen a massive increase. For banks, attracting and retaining climate conscious talent is more important than ever; we need more sustainability champions in the industry to insight the change that’s needed. These individuals will be on the lookout for institutions that do more than the bare minimum and instead look to work with companies that are taking action – unlocking green finance and disseminating knowledge through their networks. At Connect Earth we’re passionate about banks attracting top ‘green’ talent and with our solutions you’re sure to be turning their heads.
In our view, this rising wave of employee values is a great thing for the climate industry and the sustainability movement as a whole. It’s generating conversation around what people expect, and as an employer, you can’t ignore it – that’s really how change happens.
About Connect Earth:
Founded in 2021, Connect Earth is a London-based environmental data company that democratises easy access to sustainability data. With its carbon tracking API technology, Connect Earth is on a mission to empower consumers and SMEs to make sustainable choices and bridge the gap between intent, knowledge and action. Connect Earth supports financial institutions in offering their customers transparent insight into the climate impact of their spending.