Investing in Sustainability in 2022

Environmental sustainability is an important topic in 2022.

A professional working on a tablet on a sustainable campus.

Of course, sustainability isn’t a new concept, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the coming-of-age of Generation Z have pushed sustainability to a new level in the national conversation. There is a call to action for the world of higher education to do more for the environmental sustainability movement. What more could your institution be doing?

A priority for students

Gen Z is shaping sustainability trends for 2022 and beyond. According to a Deloitte survey, climate change and protecting the environment are number one concerns for members of Gen Z. They’re creating a greater market for sustainable products and demanding that companies treat workers fairly. They’re better at spotting “greenwashing,” which is when a company brands themselves as environmentally friendly without implementing any real sustainable practices. Gen Z is determined to make companies not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.Infographic: 49% of Gen Z said that personal ethics have played a role in their career choices. 75% of college applicants said that a school's commitment to the environment and sustainability would impact their enrollment decision.

Importantly, Gen Z’s passion for the environment also impacts their college and career choices. 49% of Gen Zs surveyed said that personal ethics have played a role in career choices, and 75% of college applicants said that a school’s commitment to the environment would affect their enrollment decision. The need for a comprehensive sustainability plan for every campus is clear, to attract the incoming generation of students, that plan must impact every corner of campus.

Every corner of campus—including HR

Your institution may be working on green academic buildings and energy efficient dorms, but what can your HR team do to support the movement for sustainability? Research has found that human resources offices are key influencers of an organization’s sustainability efforts and success. Since HR has so many touch points with employees, from onboarding to ongoing talent management, that team can influence organizational culture around sustainability, reinforcing sustainable practices by engaging in them.


Did you know that 45% of printed paper ends up in the trash in a typical workday? The average office worker generates two pounds of paper products a day and uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. A paperless office can have a huge positive impact on your team’s environmental sustainability goals. Reducing paper usage saves money, saves trees, saves energy, and saves space. Think of how much space a filing cabinet uses up, or the storage rooms on campus that hold files and folders—and the energy it takes to maintain, heat, and light those inefficient spaces.

Quote: Digital documents are more sustainable, easier to manage and update, and easier to locate and share with anyone who needs access.Digital documents are more sustainable, easier to manage and update, and easier to locate and share with anyone who needs access. A centralized, up-to-date digital talent acquisition and talent management system like PeopleAdmin’s keeps all of your information in one place, reduces your office’s reliance on paper, and gives your team access to metrics and analytics that manual systems can’t produce.

The hybrid office

The shift to remote and hybrid work has brought awareness to the environmental impact of commutes, office spaces, and working patterns. Pollution from traffic and commutes decreased during the pandemic, and some organizations were able to save on office space with fewer employees coming in full time. If your office is going to offer hybrid work arrangements (and it should), it’s possible your campus can see positive sustainability impacts! Hybrid arrangements encourage digitization, and they allow your campus to hire more employees without investing in costly new buildings.

Final thoughts

If your institution hopes to attract the best students and win the war for talent, make sure that you’re investing in sustainability in every corner of your campus. It’s time to digitize. Recycle that piece of paper next to you and check out PeopleAdmin today!