Millennials are accelerating workplace sustainability in Australia, Adobe finds

Chandra Sinnathamby, Director of Digital Media B2B Strategy & GTM, Asia Pacific at Adobe

Adobe announced research that revealed employees’ stances on environmental impact and sustainability practices within an Australian workplace. As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, climate change continues to be the front of mind for businesses that are leaning on technology to operate more sustainably and reduce society’s impact on the environment.

What were the findings of Adobe’s research?

Adobe’s ‘Sustainability at Work’ research reveals that the impact depends on a person’s age and location, which has implications for the future of the workforce. 64% of Aussies believe that hybrid working can make businesses more sustainable; the main reasons being reduced emissions (due to less commuting) in electricity consumption and office space required, and over 56% agree that everyone should help drive sustainability in the workplace equally.

In addition, Australia has long recognised the role of sustainable development for the betterment of the country, and most Australian organisations are holding themselves accountable by committing themselves to measurable sustainability goals.

Employee Participation in Sustainability Initiatives

While most Australians surveyed want to partake in sustainability practices and believe that it is a key success metric for the firm, it is the millennials that are leading the way. Younger age groups (18-34 years) are more engaged and involved in their firm’s sustainability practices while other age groups (55+ years) tend to be more disconnected, according to the data.

While 55% are involved in driving sustainability practices in their workplace, this figure is higher for the 25–34-year age group (64%) and lower for those aged 55+ (48%). Australian employees see sustainability as an opportunity for innovation, talent attraction and retention.

Role of Executives in Sustainability at the Workplace

In terms of prioritising sustainability in the workplace and realising overall sustainability goals, 75% of Australian executives surveyed said that it is important for them to achieve high sustainability at work, but over a quarter (33%) Australian employees that were surveyed think their company is resistant to making changes towards achieving sustainability.

Aussie employees are also clued into the benefits of sustainability with the top three benefits being less harm caused to the environment, lower costs, and improved workplace culture.

While responding to questions about mindfulness in the office and individual involvement in the company’s sustainability practices, over half of surveyed respondents said that they encourage others at work to be mindful of their firm’s sustainability practices, whereas 53% said they would like to be more involved in driving sustainability practices in their workplace.

Only 50% of employees feel empowered to help improve their company’s sustainability practices, and 30% would only work for an organisation that prioritises sustainability.

Sustainability Initiatives by Australian Businesses

As sustainability becomes a key priority for Aussie firms, the top three recommendations Australians suggest about sustainability in the workplace are recycling programs, reducing, or eliminating paper and plastic usage in the workplace, and prioritising renewable energy.

The main ways in which executives track sustainability initiatives are internal auditing and reporting (33%) and running employee surveys (33%). Seabin™ are Social Impact Leaders on a data + community driven mission to solve the planets plastic pollution problems, one city at a time. The “100 Smarter Cities by 2050” action plan starts with Adobe Acrobat.

Pete Ceglinski, CEO and Co-founder of Seabin™

“It’s that digital signature on a contract that starts the process of cleaning up a city for microplastics, plastic fibres and others,” said Pete Ceglinski, CEO & Co-founder of Seabin™.

“We can literally sign and send documents worldwide in a matter of seconds, share sensitive information protected by Adobes password-protect technology, and restructure all our documentation processes. Going paperless fits our sustainability agenda, it’s a no brainer for Seabin™ to choose Adobe as the most efficient and comprehensive solution,” Pete said.

It was revealed that Aussie firms have a high focus on recycling (48%) and paper-saving sustainability programs (40%). Over 70% also believe that their firm is in line with or ahead of other companies in their sector when it comes to implementing sustainability practices.

Around 62% of Australians believe their company wants to reduce the harm it causes to the environment. Approximately one third (32%) of Australian executives surveyed say their company has boosted its sustainability efforts to attract more prospective employees.

Future of Sustainability at Workplace: Mission 2030

Respondents also believe that one of the key opportunities for sustainable development in the future will include consideration of the entire supply chain. Almost 70% of Australians also stated that sustainability initiatives will be viewed as a platform for innovation and thought leadership in the future whereas 67% of Australians estimated that companies will revamp internal processes to reduce their in-office and workspace environmental impact.

Australians also believe that their companies should be implementing more sustainability programs (50%), reducing, or eliminating paper usage (45%) and reducing or eliminating plastic (38%) at the workplace. It was concluded through the findings that women more strongly support the reduction or elimination of paper and plastic at work than men.

“The insights revealed by the study make it evident that Australian organisations are working diligently towards achieving sustainability through active initiatives,” commented Chandra Sinnathamby, Adobe Director of Digital Media B2B Strategy & GTM, Asia Pacific.

“With a collaborative effort with employees, better usage of resources, adapting renewable energy sources and adopting a hybrid workplace, Australian organisations can champion sustainability in the workplace from leadership to employees,” Sinnathamby concluded.