As society has become more aware of the impact production has on the environment, people are looking to live more sustainably and ethically. This not only affects their buying habits, but also their work. Deloitte's 2021 annual report on Millennials and Gen Zs shows that a high proportion of these generations have "made choices over the type of work they are prepared to do and the organizations for which they are willing to work based on their personal ethics." For manufacturers, this means needing to be demonstratively ethical in your practices to attract employees that let their values guide decisions on where they want to work.
There are several ways that you can ensure your business is an attractive option for the ethical workers of the future:
Operate a comprehensive initiative to cut down on waste and supercharge your recycling program. Even if you already have these schemes in place, there are probably changes that could be incorporated into it to modernize and improve on it. Use your recycling program to educate and encourage your employees to contribute to something that matters to them.
When purchasing machinery for your operations, consider the environmental impact it will have. Aim to invest in machines that will help you to reduce your carbon footprint. Look for more efficient power usage or alternative fuelling options. Not only will many of these machines increase your desirability as an employer, but they will also cut down on your fuel and energy costs.
Much of the difficulty that ethical workers have with trying to find appropriate places to work is that the materials used to make products can come from questionable sources. Unethical practices in the acquisition or procurement of raw materials or parts, such as slave labor or deforestation, can put off otherwise keen candidates for roles. Review where you get your materials and supplies from to ensure they are being responsibly sourced.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has revealed that the manufacturing industry consumes around 54% of the world's energy resources. And according to findings from the World Bank, it's also responsible for one-fifth of carbon emissions. That's everything from power used to run plants and factories to supply chain transportation emissions. Of course, in order to operate, manufacturers need to use power and energy. But that doesn't mean they need to use as much as they do.
The latest technologies in alternative energy sources — such as solar and wind power — can be optimized to power entire factories, for example. That might be an extreme objective for all manufacturers to aim for, but there are many smaller, simple changes you can make to increase energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint. If you're not sure where to begin, seek out an eco-expert to provide a consultation.
The workforce of the future is one that holds themselves and their employers to a high ethical standard. In order to encourage them to work for you, you'll need business practices that align with their moral code. Make changes now so your search for the next generation of workers is as smooth as possible.