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More than a third of employees are willing to walk out of their job if their employer does little or nothing to fight the climate crisis, a new poll has found.

The data, from a survey of more than 2,000 UK office workers, suggests that climate is a priority for employees.

However, many do not feel it is important to their employer, creating problems for businesses already facing a difficult recruitment environment.

A total of 35 per cent of UK employees said they would be willing to quit their job if their employer takes inadequate action to reduce its carbon footprint. The number rises to over half (53 per cent) of people aged between 18 and 24 years old.

Software platform Supercritical, which commissioned the research, said companies must stop considering sustainability as an expense that can be slashed when budgets are tight.

“Businesses can no longer get away with changing or scrapping their sustainability initiatives at the drop of a hat,” said Michelle You, co-founder and CEO of Supercritical.

“Employees are demanding more and employers are being held to account. Those that want to attract and retain top talent must start seeing climate action as a non-negotiable or risk being left behind.”

The findings also revealed a fifth (20 per cent) of all employees are already unhappy with their employer’s current climate initiatives. Even in a recession, a third (32 per cent) would not be comfortable with their company cutting its sustainability programme to save money.

The findings come as companies are already reeling from the ‘Great Resignation’ – a term coined by organisational psychologist Dr Anthony Klotz.

Also known as the ‘Big Quit’, it refers to the record numbers of people around the world quitting their jobs as they realise they want something more, whether it’s enhanced leisure or family time, or a role that better suits their personality, morals, and beliefs.

While attitudes to life-work balances were changing before Covid-19, the pandemic accelerated the trend.

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