There is a clear age gap when it comes to concerns about environmental issues, and it could have detrimental effects on your recruiting efforts. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 75% of young Millennials and Generation Z (people age 18-34) believe that global warming is caused by human activity. That number dropped to 56% when the 55 and older age group was asked the same question.
Yale researchers took a different approach in measuring environmental concern in a study published this past July. When asked if they had contacted government officials about the issue of global warming, 13% of Millennials said they had done so. The numbers weren’t much different among the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers: 12% and 10% respectively.
The two studies together essentially conclude that Millennials and Generation Z are concerned with the environment but not engaged enough to actively do anything about it, relative to the other age groups. Those talented young engineers, programmers and writers you're trying to recruit like to see collaborative work environments, meaning open office workstations and standing desks. But making your office eco-friendly means your workforce is doing it small part to combat global warming just by showing up to work.
Here are four easy ways to make your office more "green."
The idea is simply to color-code all your waste receptacles and label them so everyone is clear. The blue ones are typically for paper, the green ones for bottles and cans; and the black ones for waste. Electronic waste (smartphones, monitors, laptops, etc.) also needs to be disposed of in the proper manner. The United Nations estimates that 80% of e-waste is sitting in landfills, contaminating water and soil. Use the Cal Recycle website to find an e-waste recycling center near you.
The refrigerator in the break room should be Energy Star certified. The most modern models are said to use about as much power as a standard 60-watt lightbulb. Speaking of lighting, some of us are old enough to remember not to touch those tungsten-filament incandescent light bulbs after they've been on for more than a few minutes, unless you like burning your hands. Thankfully those are no longer manufactured in the USA. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are the most energy efficient light bulbs today. They last up to 25 times longer than halogen incandescent bulbs and use up to 30% less electricity.
The Bay Area has about 259 days of sunshine per year, compared to the U.S. average of 205 sunny days. There are federal tax rebates available for going solar, and there are additional incentives through the GoSolarSF Incentive offered by the City of San Francisco. Businesses receive a $200 rebate per kilowatt of solar energy installed on their premises, with a cap of $50,000. The rebate amounts will change in 2020. But the long-term cost savings and reduction in your carbon footprint are undeniable.
Whether its heat or air conditioning, the idea is keeping it inside and making your temperature control apparatuses work less. Energy-efficient windows are double or triple-paned, meaning they have two or three layers of glass and non-toxic gases like argon inside for better insulation. The Department of Energy estimates you can lower energy bills by anywhere from 10%-33% simply by replacing old windows.
Going green not only satisfies your environmentally-conscious workforce, but could also expand your customer base and attract investors. Consumers support companies that reflect their own ideals, while environmentally-conscious investors are always willing to help companies lower their carbon footprints. You'll also be doing our planet Earth a huge favor.-------------------------------
Samantha Johnson is a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Sacramento with her husband, daughter, and two cats. Samantha writes for several retailers and mommy bloggers, and runs an e-commerce store.