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Save the planet, one hire at a time

According to Statista, by 2050, worldwide waste generation is expected to increase by roughly 70 percent to 3.4 billion metric tons.

We have a duty to protect our planet and the responsibility to preserve the environment for the early talent we 
all recruit. Our 2021 Impact Report shows we’re making significant improvements, but we still have a long way to go.

“The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future,” – Hans-Otto Pörtner, IPCC 2022 Report

The United Kingdom has improved in its waste management since the last report in 2019. It moved from 17th to 21st place as it is producing a lower volume of waste (down from 468kg per capita in 2019, to 463kg per capita in 2022).

Most organisations (and probably yours) rely on merchandise, travel and even catering when attracting early talent. All these play a part in the waste of resources and that all-important production of 
carbon dioxide.

Sign our pledge and commit to finding more sustainable ways to attract early talent. Use our tips and liaise with our suggested resources to take your footprint fight as far as you can.

General tips

How to recruit more sustainably

When reviewing your early talent attraction, think about reducing the amount of merchandise you produce but consider travel, food and onboarding materials too. It’s also important to consider ethics – protecting people involved in your supply chain as well as the environment.


Don’t print anything if a digital asset could do the job. If you absolutely need to print, use 100% post-consumer waste stock that’s also chlorine-free. Whilst paper can be sourced from ‘sustainably managed’ forests, use recycled instead – it’s more sustainable. Print only as many copies as you need and avoid routinely producing something different every year.


Continue the momentum of COVID-19 by exploring online event platforms. If you do need to attend real-world events, travel light. Don’t print one-off posters or pull-up stands and shun the goody bag. Instead, engage candidates by giving low-carbon ‘experiences’. And if you’re serving food, consider going vegan – meat and dairy production are often bad for the environment.


COVID-19 encouraged many of us to switch real-world vacation schemes, boot camps and internships to online platforms. Consider keeping these initiatives online if you can. If face-to-face events can’t be avoided, prioritise venues that are easily accessible by public transport. Provide travel information to candidates to discourage them from driving.


Onboarding can be a time when we suffocate employees with printed materials –handbooks, guides, directories, maps, vouchers. Provide as much of your new-starter information online as you can. (But remember to make clear that printed copies are available for those that really need them.) If you’re in the habit of zipping joiners around the country to visit other sites, consider moving those ‘trips’ online or at least encourage the use of public transport.


How you can play your part

If you’re a student looking at your career options, you can help reduce waste in recruitment. Here are some steps you might want to take:

  • If you attend a careers event, question the recruiter about any merchandise they’re handing out. Is it from a sustainable source? Can it be recycled? What happens to it if it’s not taken – will it end up in landfill? And are they sure the people that make the merchandise have good working conditions?
  • Don’t take any merchandise unless you really need it and are likely to use it for a long time. If you already have a reusable water bottle, coffee cup or tote bag, resist the temptation to take another one.
  • Ask if the recruiter has heard about the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance, or see if they’re exhibiting our logo. If the recruiter doesn’t know about the Alliance, suggest they look us up online.

We’re not suggesting you should only apply to organisations that are aligned with the Alliance. But do question bad practices if you can. Also, check out the admirable work of two of our supporters, SOS-UK and Sentry.

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