Sustainability as a driving force for business and culture change

In our latest research report, in partnership with the Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA), we explore how organisations are linking sustainability to their business and HR strategies, changing their products or services to meet sustainability objectives, and linking sustainability with their employee value proposition.


Organisations are focusing on sustainability more than ever before. Around the world, individuals are developing a greater interest in and understanding of how corporates can meet their current business needs without compromising future generations’ economic, environmental and social welfare. Meanwhile, investors are applying non-financial metrics to their objective assessments, redefining shareholder value. 


Some of the sustainability principles organisations currently aim to meet include:


Reduce environmental impact of business processes


Assess sustainability within supply chain


Encourage development and use of environmentally friendly technologies

How sustainability is driving business change

Huge shifts are taking place in business practices, products and services as organisations work to become more sustainable.


This ongoing revolution in the way business is conducted is going to have a major impact on CHROs and their HR reports, including their reward and benefits teams.


In this video, Nick McMenemy, Partner and UK&I Consulting Leader, Mercer Marsh Benefits, speaks with REBA’s co-founder and director, Debi O’Donovan, about how reward and benefits professionals are becoming fundamental to realising major organisational aspirations for change, and how they can choose to react.


The full findings discussed in this video can be found in our report.

Creating a sustainable value proposition for businesses

With investors and business leaders looking more closely at sustainability and purpose, we expect huge shifts in business practices, products and services. Our research highlights that nearly eight in 10 (78%) respondent organisations have made changes to at least some of their products or services to meet sustainability objectives, while a similarly high proportion (80%) continue to make changes. In the foreseeable future, this means that over a quarter or organisations (27%) will change all their products and services.


This revolution in how business is conducted means that chief human resources officers and their reward and benefits teams will be fundamental to realising organisational aspirations for change. Whilst sustainability is a business issue, it is increasingly a HR, reward and benefits issue too.


Businesses are also improving their understanding of the intersection between sustainability and employee benefits, as they realise their workforce have their own individual sustainability goals and requirements as consumers and citizens as well as employees. Our research shows that organisations currently aim to meet the following:

71% of organisations either already request child and forced labour sustainability objectives from their reward and benefits suppliers, or will do so over the next two years.

89% of organisations either already offer benefits that allow employees to live more sustainable lives or will do so in the next two years.

76% or organisations closely or partially link their diversity, equity and inclusion strategy to their sustainability objectives.

This report is the fourth in our Transforming Engagement series with REBA and aims to provide the context and practical steps needed to show how businesses are beginning to understand that sustainability is crucial to the future performance of their brand, workplace and employee experience.

Related insights

People Risk: why the need for change is urgent

Our first report explores key challenges facing businesses today.
Aligning corporate culture and human values

Our second report shares how organisations can achieve growth, balanced with purpose.
Technology change is business change

Our third report explore supporting today’s workforce for tomorrow’s technology.

ESG is not a destination, but a pathway to a sustainable future
Find out more about three key areas to create successful sustainability strategies for your organisation.
Improving sustainability through your people
Sustainability is on every boardroom agenda. It is critical to best-practice risk management.
Sustainable at the core
Stakeholder capitalism is emerging as a collective priority given the clear interdependence of healthy societies, economies, and the environment.

Contact our experts

If you would like to discuss any of the issues or topics in this report, please provide your details below and one of our consultants will be in touch with your shortly.

Nick McMenemy

Nick McMenemy

Partner and UK&I Consulting Leader,
Mercer Marsh Benefits

David Wreford

David Wreford

Partner and UK Sustainability Consulting Leader,

Download the report