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For businesses in the hospitality sector, having a clear sustainability strategy is becoming increasingly important. 

Today’s customer is more attuned to environmental issues and eager to make more conscious purchasing choices. According to a biannual study carried out by the Food Standards Agency in the UK, over three-quarters (78%) of consumers say it’s important to them to buy food that has a low environmental impact. 

It doesn’t stop there. With environmental regulations tightening as a result of the Paris Agreement, sustainability is now a key factor for investors, too. Global ESG (environmental,social and governance) assets are projected to surpass $50 trillion by 2025, which represents one-third of the projected total assets under management around the world. Having sustainable practices in place also helps to reduce the costs associated with waste and energy consumption. 

One area that is often overlooked is the effect of sustainability on the recruitment process — and any boost that the hospitality sector can gain in this regard is sorely needed. Staff shortages remain a huge challenge for the hospitality and foodservice sector (HaFS). These shortages hit a record high in June 2022, according to figures released by the ONS (Office for National Statistics); these figures show that the UK hospitality sector has over 174,000 jobs available, and is experiencing 83% more vacancies compared to the months between March and May in 2019 (the most recent comparable period outside of the pandemic). In Australia, the R&CA’s 2021 Industry Benchmarking Report found that 46.6% of respondents were finding it ‘extremely difficult’ to fill positions. Lightspeed’s 2021 Global State of the Hospitality Industry Report confirmed that this is an issue across the globe.

How hospitality organisations can better attract staff

With demand for staff far exceeding supply, one of the ways in which businesses in the hospitality sector can stand out from the crowd is through their sustainability efforts. The simple act of prioritising environmental issues can be one of the most effective ways to increase employee engagement and attract top talent. It’s simply about providing what the new generation of employees desires. 

By 2025, it is projected that Generation Z will make up 27% of the workforce, with Millennials making up the vast majority of the remainder. When it comes to recruitment, aligning with Gen Z and Millennial values is going to be key.

Below is just a quick taste of what today’s employees are looking for from their workplaces:

  • An employee engagement study in the United States showed how 58% of employees consider the social and environmental responsibility of a company when choosing a place of work. 
  • A study by global analytics firm Gallup found that 71% of workers consider a company’s environmental record when deciding on an employer.
  • Nearly two in five (37% of Gen Zs and 36% of Millennials) say they have rejected a job and/or assignment based on their personal ethics. 
  • According to the same Deloitte report, those who are satisfied with their employers’ societal and environmental impact, and their efforts to create a diverse and inclusive culture, are more likely to want to stay with their employer for more than five years.
  • When choosing a company to work for, over 70% of people surveyed as part of a Swytch study said they are more likely to work for a company that has a strong green footprint.
  • Nearly 40% of Millennials have accepted one job offer over another because that company was sustainable.

Sharing your sustainability efforts with potential candidates

It’s obvious that when it comes to attracting the next generation of talent, a focus on sustainability is becoming a key factor. Food businesses need to make reducing their impact on the environment a priority; they also need to prove to employees that their efforts are genuine and actually making an impact. It’s one thing to attract new employees, but if the results aren’t there, staff won’t stick around in the long term.

Employees need to know that companies are making an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and source ingredients in an environmentally-friendly way. For organisations in the hospitality sector that want to stand out, the approach is simple — engage in sustainable business practices. Companies that are honest, transparent and engage in real, impactful and measurable sustainability practices become immensely more desirable. 

Recruitment is a huge challenge for food businesses. Within the hospitality and food sector, many companies are wondering what can be done to attract the right staff. Sustainability and transparency could hold the key.

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Foodprint is a fully automated, transparent and easy-to-use carbon footprint scoring system designed for food businesses. This proprietary technology instantly calculates your carbon footprint score per dish in line with the most advanced research. Foodprint also allows you to add your carbon footprint score to packaging, dishes and promotional items, increasing transparency and improving communication with customers, investors — and potential employees.

To learn more about Foodprint, click here or drop us a line at