Bengaluru: Among the glossy packages and cool policies that companies use to attract students from campuses, their environmental policies are also a major consideration for future business leaders when they join a firm, finds a global study conducted among top ranking business schools.
A study of more than 3,700 students at 29 top business schools such as Yale, Insead, London Business School and Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, found that corporations unwilling to act on environmental issues are increasingly punished by the men and women they would like to recruit as about 20% of respondents expressed an unwillingness to work for companies with bad environmental practices regardless of salary considerations.
The study, conducted by Yale University in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Global Network for Advanced Management, of which IIM-B is a part, shows 44% of students are willing to accept a lower salary to work for a company with better environmental practices.
Students also overwhelmingly found environmental action a profitable stance, noting that environmental protection will improve economic growth and provide new jobs.
These findings come at a time when world leaders, for the first time, from all the 180 countries pledged to take action aimed at tackling global warming at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on Monday.
These students not only expect business leaders and, in particular, the top executives, to prioritize environmental sustainability solutions but more than two-thirds of the students said that they want to incorporate environmental sustainability into their own careers, regardless of their role or industry.
“The role of business in society is changing. Business leaders need to understand the complex nature of sustainability issues and integrate solutions for social and environmental challenges, with the need for good financial results," said Peter Bakker, president and chief executive of WBCSD. He added that the survey results brings a clear call for change, demanding action on environmental sustainability.
Beyond asking future employers to act on environmental policies, 61% of respondents thought business schools also need to hire more faculty and staff with expertise in sustainability.