What is Sustainability Recruiting And Why Does it Matter?

online applicant trackingHave you ever heard of sustainability recruiting? If not, you need to, because it’s a powerful tool for competing with businesses today. Businesses, the most successful businesses, are adopting new techniques, ones that sustainability recruiting targets. You don’t want to get left behind. Read on to learn more. One technique you shouldn’t pass on is using our free online applicant tracking system. Recruiteze makes online recruiting and hiring new employees easy. Click here for a free trial.

What is Sustainability?

We’ll start by making sure you grasp the often confusing concept of sustainability. In general, sustainability is the state where a process can continue indefinitely, either maintaining or improving.

You may wonder why this is an issue, thinking that any business making profits is sustaining itself. That kind of thinking has been the dominant view until fairly recently and it has let businesses stagnate in ridiculously wasteful and costly practices.

While a business may be making a profit, they might also be costing themselves a lot of money. Their goals may not be achieved as they’d hope. They may drain their resources to the point that there are no more resources or the resources become too costly. The business may also be getting a negative reputation for harming the community. And it simply doesn’t make sense to cost yourself money because of waste and inefficiency.

Sustainability in business refers to optimizing practices and policies so they will be most efficient.

These practices might span hiring, materials use, energy use, productivity, or any function in the business that impacts cost. Many businesses care about sustainability because their owners are concerned about the business’ impact on the environment, or because their customers are concerned. Most businesses today care about sustainability because of its relevance to costs and competition. A non-sustainable business will not be able to compete with a comparable sustainable business.

No matter the motivation, sustainability concepts and strategies mix business sustainability and environmental sustainability because the two can’t really be separated. If waste and inefficiency is impacting the planet, it is also impacting your business. And if you want to curb costs, you’ll need to curb this waste as well as any other.

And What is Sustainability Recruiting?

Sustainability recruiting is a strategy of hiring with sustainability in mind. Sustainability recruiters concern themselves with building networks of sustainable companies and candidates, utilizing techniques to create the most lasting and productive hire, building an employer brand centering on sustainability, and helping businesses plan their sustainability goals.


Sustainable recruiters build a network of sustainability professionals working around the globe in all sectors. They can connect you to any type of employee you need for your sustainability goals whether that employee specializes in climate change management strategies or efficiency audits, whether they’ll be working for a nonprofit or a government agency, or whether they will be working in the office or remotely.

Webuild Staffing are sustainability recruiters, and they have the following to say about themselves:

Webuild Staffing specializes in the recruitment of climate change and sustainability professionals for commercial, consulting, governmental and non-profit organizations around the world.”

“We recruit executive, management, technical and entry level professionals that develop carbon market assessments, climate change management strategies, greenhouse gas policies, audits and energy efficiency studies. Providing our clients the abilities to reach exceptionally talented climate change and sustainability professionals in a very rapid manner.”

“Our candidate pool is vast and reach is worldwide; targeting individuals working on and performing high level studies, scientific research, audits and formulating business development and organizational growth strategies.”

“There are many Climate Change and Sustainability specialties throughout the industry. At Webuild we have the skills to recruit many of those professionals. Below you will find a summary listing of a few of the traditional positions we recruit for regularly;”

“ Air Quality Analyst
Carbon Services Manager
Climate Change Manager
Environmental Attorney
Environmental Scientist
GHG Auditor
Glacial Geologist
Regulatory Compliance Mgr.
Sustainability Analyst
Atmospheric Scientist
Climate Change Analyst
Climate Change Project Manager
Emission Trading Manager
Environmental Data Analyst
GHG Consultant
Renewable Energy Manager
Sustainability Manager
Carbon Manager
Climate Change Consultant
Energy Director
GHG Accountant
GHG Policy Analyst
Renewable Energy Specialist”

After The Hire

Retention is king in sustainability recruiting. These recruiters employ strategies to find the most successful match for a job and then check back, usually in 90 days, to make sure the hire is working as intended.

Sustainability recruiters teach employers how to use their new sustainability candidates for maximum benefit. Sustainable recruiting is a combination of making the most compatible hire and then maintaining an environment that nurtures that hire through the long term.  It requires both efforts to keep employees and help them be as productive as possible.

Ellen Weinreb, CEO of the Weinreb Group and one of the most prominent people in sustainability recruiting, described her strategy on greenbiz.com,

Sustainability professionals can be categorized into three tiers. The first tier is the head of sustainability or the chief sustainability officer. The second tier are those who directly report to the sustainability chief within the sustainability office. On average, a head of sustainability has four direct reports, leaving the sustainability office with a mere five employees. That’s a lean organization to influence change and implement a broad range of sustainability initiatives.”

“Beyond the sustainability office is the third tier. They do not work for the sustainability office yet they are integrated and embedded into other business units. We call this layer the ‘Sustainability Embeds.’ This is where we are seeing the most growth, plus a formalization of how that embedded layer integrates with the sustainability office via governance structures and dotted line reporting.”


Sustainable recruiting also includes advertising your business for its sustainability initiatives. If you’re working hard to improve your business, you want everyone to know about it so you can get even more benefit out of your efforts. A sustainable recruiter’s job ads will target sustainable candidates and be expertly created to appeal to these candidates. A sustainable recruiter can also help you define your employer brand to appeal to sustainable candidates.

Why is Sustainability Recruiting Important?

Bad hires are expensive, costing an average of $17,000 on one employee. A bad hire affects productivity, quality, morale, and time management, dragging down the business’ efficiency and productivity over a broad spectrum. Making poor choices in hiring is an unsustainable practice, wasting money you could be investing in strategies to better your business.

All the sustainable goals in the world won’t make your business sustainable without commitment in all aspects of the job, particularly hiring. Here’s an excellent description from Practice Greenhealth,

“It’s not enough to simply create a green team. Senior leaders need to embody the commitment to sustainability in decisions made across the organization. This strategy has to be woven throughout the recruitment process, orientation and onboarding, and ultimately the day-to-day work environment.”

“Human resources is essential to this process. It’s where the cultural tone of the organization is set at the beginning of a new employee experience.”

“Engagement activities include a sustainability component in employee orientation, incentivized sustainability-related events (Earth Day, recycling challenges, active transportation initiatives), an annual award program recognizing champions of environmental stewardship, regular feedback on the hospital’s performance on key sustainability measures, a Green Advocate and Sustainable Workspace Certification program, and sustainability messaging on signs throughout their buildings.”

Weinreb pointed out quotes from two executives who discussed how important it is to ensure alignment between a candidate’s values and your company’s values.

Mikael Ohlsson, CEO at IKEA, said, “We recruit based on our values and expect everyone to take responsibility and learn on the job.”

Ellen Pekeles, senior vice president of operations of VanCity stated, “We screen for skills and hire for fit with our values and vision.”

Sustainability is also a powerful way to attract candidates, particularly Millennials. Today’s workforce wants their daily work to better the world around them, so you need your business to promise them that, and deliver.

Weinreb touted the importance of sustainability in recruiting, “The most oft overlooked value of a sustainability program may be the value of that program to its employees. Beyond employee engagement, a company’s sustainability commitment is a draw to new recruits.”

And she quoted Pepsi’s CEO, Indra Nooyi, “It is the most important and exciting factor. It’s unbelievable. Sometimes people are sitting on the fence, a highly regarded person, and they agree to come to us for one reason. They say, ‘We want to be part of the Performance with Purpose agenda,’ and that’s been the single biggest recruiting tool we have in Pepsico today.”

Weinreb added that many college recruiters say they “only bring their CSR reports to campus recruiting events.”


Sustainability is becoming crucial to competing in today’s business world and sustainability recruiting is available to help businesses enter into and succeed at their sustainability goals. These specialized recruiters build a network of sustainable employees and businesses, ensure a lasting hire each time, and help businesses optimize their work environment and policies to achieve their sustainability goals.

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