What do a toy company, an athletic gear corporation, and a chocolate manufacturer have in common? Answer: They’re all industry leaders when it comes to sustainability efforts.
According to Newsweek, Hasbro Inc., NIKE Inc., and Hershey Co. were the top three green companies in the United States in 2016, making them front-runners for “corporate sustainability and environmental impact.”
What is Corporate Sustainability?
During a recent panel discussion at Johnson & Wales University’s Providence Campus, keynote speaker Joy Pettirossi-Poland said sustainability revolves around the three P’s: profit versus people and the planet. How can a company make money while still doing right by the people it employs, the community it impacts, and the environment? Pettirossi-Poland, president of Building Bridges, said a company that takes pride in its sustainability strategies will find a balanced approach to achieving both sides of this equation—they will consider the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) repercussions of their decisions, while generating financial success and good societal standing.
How can Job Seekers Make a Difference?
Panelist Kathrin Belliveau, Senior Vice President of Global Government Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility at Hasbro, the #1 green company, said companies that make a lot of money won’t continue to be sustainable if they’re harming their employees or the environment. Belliveau and representatives from other renowned companies, such as PepsiCo, Ecolab, and Johnson & Johnson, said new people coming into the workforce could have a huge impact on a company’s sustainability strategies if they’re willing to work hard.
Here’s how job seekers can influence green initiatives in the corporate world:
Do your research.
Those looking to join the job market should educate themselves on companies that are making sustainable strides. Have they set specific sustainability goals? How do they treat their employees? If a company is making a ton money but is dumping hazardous waste, they’re not going to be sustainable for the future—and that is something to consider when applying for a position.
Pinpoint your passions.
Job seekers should find companies that align with their core values, the experts said, and invest their effort there. If you’re passionate about corporate responsibility, you probably don’t want to spend your time with a company that doesn’t own up to its mistakes. Make it a priority to know what the company’s mission is and what kind of work they’re doing to aid issues you’re passionate about.
Work toward changing the rules.
Today’s students will eventually become tomorrow’s CEOs. According to the panelists, employees need to make sustainability a priority going forward and change the way green projects are viewed in big corporations. They should become the norm, the experts said. While making money is the primary goal of most companies, doing no harm to the environment or the surrounding community, either through pollution or harsh work conditions, should be equally as important.
Ultimately, if job seekers make the environment a central focus of their daily work—and they demand change—employers and big corporations are bound to modify their attitudes toward green movements and sustainable efforts.
This post originally appeared on JWU Online’s Career Catalyst blog.