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Save the planet, one hire at a time

According to the Global Waste Index 2019, waste production currently stands at two billion tonnes a year. That’s a horrendous figure – and it's getting worse.

The World Bank believes it could to rise by 70% by 2050. We need to act, and urgently.

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.

We can’t contribute to the problem any longer. We have the power to change our habits, the duty to protect our planet and the responsibility to preserve the environment for the early talent we 
all recruit.

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 amounts 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.


Again, 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.

Case studies

We’re delighted to share stories about how member organisations have made important changes. Read them below – and don’t forget to submit your own.

The seven-year ditch

Read case study

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