With the messages coming out of the media, there’s a temptation to think that if you can get any job you should grasp it with open arms and a tonne of gratitude. There could be some truth in that, given that Covid-19 has undoubtedly rocked the jobs market, especially in the north of England. But does that mean that you have to completely abandon your environmental and ethical principles when job hunting? Are you stuck becoming a wage slave contributing to the causes of climate change? Or do you have some choice?
Why do eco principles matter when job hunting?
It’s true that you as an individual can make individual consumer choices which support eco-friendly businesses. However, the acts of individuals, whilst important and increasingly so, it’s businesses that really make a difference to the state of the planet. These businesses need employees to operate.
It’s not just the big giants of manufacturing either. Every business has a role to play in sustainability. If you can choose to provide your skills and work ethic to an employer that has their own sturdy eco-friendly principles, then you can contribute to halting and reversing climate change.
How can businesses be eco-friendly?
For a business to be eco-friendly, they need to take steps to use energy and resources in more efficient ways whilst reducing waste. What that looks like for an individual business will depend on what they do. For some it may be encouraging and enabling employees to cycle or walk to work and eliminating disposable coffee cups from the office canteen. For others it may be that they can choose to make their supply chain more transparent and green.
What matters to you as the job hunter is how do you identify if the prospective employer takes eco-issues seriously?
Identifying eco-friendly employers
There are a number of different ways that you can investigate if a potential employer is aligned with your own eco values.
A good starting point is their website. Generally speaking, businesses that are taking steps towards being environmentally friendly and sustainable are proud of it and so they advertise it. These businesses know that being eco-friendly actually makes good business sense too. It bolsters their reputation and can bolster their bottom line.
Also specifically look to see if they have won any local or wider awards for their environmental practice. In the North West, specifically in Manchester, you can see if they’ve taken the Green Growth Pledge.
You can also get Googling and see if the employer has published either a sustainability report or a corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, and has policies relating to these areas.
It can also be something you ask at interview. Step away from the boring and anticipated interviewee questions and ask something that shows that you are genuinely interested in this employer. Ask what steps they have in place to decide on suppliers, or if employees are supported in making green choices.
We can’t escape the reality that, due to Covid, times are tough for both job seekers and businesses across the country, including the North West. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to compromise your eco principles when job hunting. Do your research and you’ll be able to find employers who share your commitment to environmental values.