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Climate positive

Career or saving the climate?

Sustainable corporate engagement is becoming increasingly important for the younger generations. But where does the focus lie?
Sabine Zinc
February 21, 2023
Climate positive

When young employees join companies, it is often not long before issues such as the environment and climate change take centre stage. Even the job interview revolves around sustainability, especially when it comes to business trips, commuting, efficient building use or even concepts to protect the environment. It is also not uncommon for demands to be granted time during work to get involved in society to become louder. While tradition and the history of a company are still important to Generation Y, their successors pay less attention to them. Ecological orientation and meaningful work, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly important for younger people. (6)

However, generations can also agree: Y and Z, for example, are united by a strong desire for self-realisation. Digitalisation is also a factor: while the Millennials, i.e. Gen Y, have grown up with progressive digitalisation, representatives of Gen Z were born completely into the digital world. (1)

The attitude of young workers: "I have to do something for our planet".

Both Gen Y and Gen Z attach great importance to finding employers who also fit them on a personal level. The ideal corporate culture and the right values play a major role in this. The promotion of diversity and inclusion, social commitment and sustainable actions of the company are top priorities for many when it comes to choosing a job. (4)

Grievances are not accepted: Fridays for Future, demonstrations for better treatment of animals and petitions for the sake of the environment - large parts of Generation Y and Generation Z are committed to social issues. A large proportion is committed to environmental protection, as those surveyed see a healthy planet as the basis for their personal and professional existence. Millennials in particular are interested in the state of our environment and will do anything to guarantee their descendants a carefree life on earth. (2)

Companies use the values for the "War of Talents

The world of work is changing: the baby boomer generation is now gradually retiring, which means that corporate values and ideas are undergoing drastic change. A considerable proportion of Gen Y and Z, for example, find that social engagement increases the attractiveness of employers. Companies that address these issues and are even active are superior to other companies in the view of both generations and benefit in the fight for young talent. 68 percent - according to a Greenpeace study, this is the percentage of 15-24 year-olds for whom the environment is extremely important. Leading companies or corporations in Germany have therefore long since integrated the sustainability trend into their strategy. This also means that they anchor success not only on a financial level. They also define it in terms of the consequences of their actions for the environment. Current challenges, such as the shortage of skilled workers, are pushing the issues even more into the spotlight. Those who act sustainably are therefore more successful - also in recruiting. (3)

Sustainability is a matter of definition

What sustainable action means needs to be explained in more detail. Is it enough to do without paper in the office? Should trees be planted during the company outing? Or should sustainability be named the most important priority and all actions be guided by it? The consequences influence climate-neutral and fair manufacturing and logistics or plastic-free production. Companies should not only comply with the specified climate protection measures or bow to public pressure in order to convince young talent of their worth. They should do more: take action of their own free will and assume responsibility. After all, the requirements of politics are often not enough! And that in turn means that companies can only reach the younger generations with an honest commitment to greater sustainability. (5)


  1. https://co-create.de/allgemein/xyz-anforderungen-an-unternehmen-wachsen/
  2. https://www.employer-branding-now.de/nachhaltigkeit-und-umweltbewusstsein-ein-plus-fuer-das-recruiting
  3. https://www.focus.de/finanzen/experten/schmid/die-macht-der-millennials-warum-junge-menschen-nach-einem-sinn-in-ihrer-arbeit-suchen_id_3660834.html 
  4. https://www.handelskraft.de/diversitaet-der-generationen-was-die-generation-z-vom-arbeitgeber-erwartet/2021/11/ 
  5. https://www.hr-heute.com/magazin/nachhaltigkeit-und-arbeitgeberattraktivit%C3%A4t 
  6. https://www.welt.de/print/die_welt/wirtschaft/article205668185/Berufseinsteiger-erwarten-umweltbewusste-Arbeitgeber.html