Recent data collected from BMG’s monthly panel (made up of a representative sample of 1,000 UK employees surveyed in July 2019), shows that only a minority of employees are able to identify how their employer seeks to lessen its environmental impact.

Fewer than half of the employees surveyed agree that when their employer purchases goods and services (45%) or create policies for staff (44%) that they seek to minimise the effect on the environment. Interestingly, this drops even further amongst staff in smaller organisations. For example, just 36% of employees in organisations of 10-49 staff agree that their employer seeks to minimise the effect it has on the environment when purchasing goods and services.

When asked if their organisation effectively supports different workplace environmental initiatives, in most instances around a third of employees state that they are unsure (as shown below). Waste reduction and recycling is the only initiative which a majority of employees (56%) say their organisation does support.

It is clear that employees agree that their workplace should be purchasing environmentally sustainable versions of products. Three quarters agree that their workplace should be purchasing paper and stationary (76%) and lighting (75%) that are environmentally sustainable, while only 5% disagree. Around two thirds of employees agree food products (66%) and furniture (63%) should be purchased whilst thinking of the environment.

In our research we also sought to quantify the availability of recycling facilities within the workplace. The findings show some variability by material. 74% of employees say that there are paper and cardboard recycling facilities accessible at their workplace and 65% have access to plastic, cans and glass recycling.

At lower levels just 35% of employees have access to food recycling at their work, with 50% stating that this is not available (15% are unsure). Access to food recycling rises to 49% amongst employees based in London and drops to 29% amongst those based in Wales.

Reducing the environmental impact of workplaces is likely to require a clear policy framework, that is clearly understood by staff, plus the identification of inefficient processes and potential barriers to behaviour change. Insight in these areas can be delivered through directly engaging with employees.

If you wish to discuss any project in which you wish to understand the voice of your employees please contact Simon Maydew (Executive Director) or Steve Handley (Research Director) who would be happy to discuss how our full range of services could be of benefit to your organisation.

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