It is good news that employees are increasingly engaged in their companies’ sustainability mission.
As the future of work continues to change globally post-pandemic, businesses have begun modifying their approach towards sustainability through employee involvement and hybrid workplaces. To better understand Indian workers’ stances on their businesses’ sustainability practices, Adobe conducted its Sustainability at Work survey with over 1000 Indian employees and business managers.
In the survey announced in April 2023 respondents were asked about their company’s sustainability initiatives, as well as their projections for the coming decade. Many employees believe their company wants to reduce its environmental impact, and they are individually involved in enforcing the company’s sustainability initiatives. According to respondents, sustainable practices in the workplace lead to improvements in workplace culture, reduced negative environmental impact, and increased overall productivity rates.
The study also found that a majority of Indian employees (90%) think that hybrid working can make businesses more sustainable. The main reasons for this are increased focus on digital document storage and management (44%), generally encouraging the use of digital collaboration and workflow tools, and lower electricity consumption in commercial office spaces.
Employee participation in Sustainability Initiatives
According to the survey, a very high proportion of employees (94%) say they are directly involved in driving sustainability practices at their workplace. This is even higher for Indian workers aged 25 to 34 (97%). Additionally, 97% of executives believe it is important for them to achieve high sustainability at work, and 41% of executives ranked sustainability at workplace as one of their top three metrics for business success. They also revealed that a vast majority of Indian executives are assessed on sustainability in their performance scorecard.
As for employees, the survey revealed that 83% of respondents feel empowered to help improve their company’s sustainability practices and 82% would like to be more involved in driving sustainability practices in their workplace. Around 70% of Indian employees feel their company is in line with or ahead of other companies in its sector when it comes to implementing sustainability practices, with over 84% of employees adding that their company has dedicated personnel responsible for implementing these practices.
However, the opinion of who should primarily drive sustainability initiatives in the workplace is split, with about 30% believing everyone should drive it equally, while the rest believe that either employees or executives and managers should be tasked to do so (35% and 29%, respectively). Indian employees also see sustainability as an opportunity for innovation, talent attraction and retention.
Sustainability for Business Success
The survey also showed that 77% of Indian employees believe their company prioritises sustainability and wants to reduce its environmental impact. A great majority of Indian executives (93%) also remarked that their company has boosted its sustainability efforts to attract more prospective employees, with about 71% of Indian employees stating that they would only work at a company that prioritises sustainability.
According to senior executives and business managers surveyed, Indian companies track sustainability initiatives in several ways, the top few being, publishing sustainability performance reports (56%), running internal auditing and reporting (51%), and including sustainability in management performance scorecards (50%).
Sustainability by 2030
When asked about their projections for the end of the decade with regards to sustainability, 85% of respondents predicted that sustainability initiatives will be viewed as opportunities for innovation by 2030. About 82% even estimated that in the future, their companies will consider their entire supply chain, including vendors, when implementing sustainability initiatives and will have a dedicated sustainability department to help reduce their environmental footprint.
Respondents also believe that when it comes to sustainability in the workplace, their companies should be increasing their use of digital document storage and management (41%), prioritise renewable energy (41%), and work towards reducing or eliminating plastic in the workplace (40%). Furthermore, they hope to see more recycling programmes and reduced paper usage and printing in the office.
Adobe Document Cloud Sustainability at Work Study is based on a 19-question online survey of 1,009 Indians, aged 18 and older, who are employed, either full or part-time to explore opinions and beliefs of Indian employees and executives about sustainable workplace practices in the present and their hope for the future of workplace sustainability.