Environmental Sustainability a Top Priority for Multinational Firms

Mike Moran - Mar 31 2022
Published in: Mobility
| Updated Apr 27 2023
Worldwide ERC®s Road to Sustainability reveals attention and resources are dedicated to environmental goals.

More than 90% of multinational firms have adopted a sustainability strategy, and 89% have committed resources and funding sufficient to achieve their environmental goals. While tactics vary across industries and sectors, reducing employee relocations was rarely cited as a priority of the CHROs surveyed in Worldwide ERC®s newly released Road to Sustainability. The new data is based on  survey of 900 CHROs and senior Human Resources leaders at multinational firms —representing a wide variety of industries, world regions, and company sizes – about how they plan to achieve their organization’s sustainability goals.

Key takeaways from the research indicate:


  • Pressure Is on Service Providers. Corporations are leveraging their supplier networks to devise and deliver on sustainability goals, with fifty-six percent encouraging or requiring suppliers and business partners to meet specific sustainability criteria.
  • Mobility is Here to Stay. Reducing employee relocations was cited as the lowest priority in meeting sustainability goals. A full sixty-four percent of respondents are not considering reductions as part of their strategy.
  • Having a Public Policy Strategy Is Key: Adopting public policy positions is the second most utilized strategy for managing corporate sustainability goals. Just over half of companies reporting are adopting public policy positions in pursuit of their sustainability goals.
  • Digitalization Is a Top Priority. CHROs and HR executives report that organizations are betting big on the promise of digitalization to deliver on sustainability goals. Respondents rank digitalization more frequently than any other tactic cited, and the issue is tied as the number one priority among all initiatives.


Sustainability and The Future of Work

The percentage of US workers working from home rose to 37% during the height of the pandemic lockdowns. According to a recent Gallup poll, 91% of these remote employees would like to continue remote or hybrid working, and 76% say their employer will allow it.

Promoting remote work and telecommuting ranked as the fourth-highest priority of importance among respondents to the Road to Sustainability survey, and the majority of companies are actively considering policies and practices to encourage it.

Despite early optimism about the remote work movement decreasing the collective carbon footprint, the early evidence is less clear. Situational factors like energy sources and residential building materials are variable, and individual employee behaviors can have a substantial impact. What is sure is that measuring environmental impact is decidedly more difficult with a distributed workforce.

Respondents to the Road to Sustainability also indicate that though employers may be open to hybrid and remote work arrangements, just thirty-eight percent are considering reducing or consolidating their current office space.

The Road to Sustainability research is the first element of a larger Worldwide ERC® initiative growing out of conversations at GWS2021. Worldwide ERC® has convened a Sustainability Advisory Council of senior mobility leaders who are advancing sustainability within their own organizations and supply chains. The objective of what will likely be a multi-year initiative is to establish a common vocabulary and useful metrics specific to sustainability in the relocation market.  

Click here to download a copy of the Road to Sustainability.