December 2, 2015

Business students will take less green for pro-green careers

A new global study of more than 3,700 students at 29 top business schools found that corporations unwilling to act on environmental issues are increasingly punished by the men and women they would like to recruit. The business students would take a lower salary before working for a company that wasn't sufficiently green.

The study, conducted by Yale University in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Global Network for Advanced Management, shows that 44 percent of students are willing to accept a lower salary to work for a company with better environmental practices. Conversely, about one-fifth of respondents expressed an unwillingness to work for companies with bad environmental practices regardless of salary considerations.

The business students expect business leaders, and in particular the C-Suite, to prioritize the search for environmental sustainability solutions. More than two-thirds of participants said that they want to incorporate environmental sustainability into their careers, regardless of their role or industry. All else being equal, 84 percent of students would choose to work for a company with good environmental practices.

Business students also demanded action from the schools they attend; students want a more thorough integration of environmental issues into the core operations and curricula of business schools. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents thought that business schools need to hire more faculty and staff with expertise in sustainability; 64 percent also wanted more career services and counseling on sustainability-related jobs.

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