Finnish Institute of Occupational Health press release 30 January 2023
The views of Finnish employees strongly favour sustainability transition, indicates Finnish Institute of Occupational Health’s Climate Change and Work survey. Two out of three respondents say that the workplaces are also responsible for mitigating climate change.
“Employees in Finland are aware of the causes of the sustainability crisis and the need for change. Human activity on Earth should be limited to ecologically sustainable boundaries, and work life has a role to play in solving the sustainability crisis,” emphasizes researcher Fanni Moilanen from Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
Climate change is a widely recognized phenomenon, and the transition to carbon neutral society is considered to be important among employees.
Nearly all respondents believe that Earth’s climate is changing. Furthermore, 78% of the respondents say that striving towards carbon neutral society is important. 75% of the respondents say constant economic growth is not possible due to the limited resources on Earth.
Less than a third consider their workplace to be a frontrunner
About half of the survey’s respondents say that their workplace has changed their practices in order to mitigate climate change. In addition, nearly half report that their workplace uses technological solutions that mitigate climate change.
The responses indicate that not all actions taken by workplaces are communicated to the employees in a way that would reach them. Half of the respondents say that they had not been told about their workplace’s action to mitigate climate change.
“The survey’s results do not directly indicate the true extent of climate action at workplaces but the employee’s ideas of the situation,” says Research Professor Tuomo Alasoini from Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
Nearly a third of the respondents say that their workplace is a frontrunner in climate-friendly practices in its sector.
“It is interesting that more than half of employees can identify steps that have been taken towards more climate-friendly operations in their workplace. On the other hand, many workplaces still have the potential to be more active in mitigating climate change,” says Fanni Moilanen.
Typical climate action taken by workplaces
The most common type of climate action taken by Finnish workplaces was the development of climate-friendly working practices in co-operation between the employer and employees: 28% of respondents reported this type of climate action.
In addition, one in four respondents said that their workplace had a climate programme or strategy in place. Every fift of the respondents reported that the suggestions made by employees had resulted in a change in climate-friendly working practices at the workplace.
More than half of the respondents had thought about the environmental impact of their work. Half of the respondents said that they had made changes to their working practices or methods in order to work more ecologically sustainable.
“The grassroots-level action taken by workplaces is important in the development of local sustainability solutions. If employees have the opportunity to adjust their work into a more ecologically sustainable direction, it should be encouraged,” says Senior Specialist Arja Ala-Laurinaho from Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
Climate Change and Work survey to be carried out periodically
Climate change and sustainability transition have been recognized as phenomena that change work life for a long time. However, there are no established indicators in work life for monitoring the green transition phenomena.
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health’s Climate Change and Work survey provides unique research data for the future of work life, and it will be carried out every couple of years from now on.
“We have developed a new survey method that allows for studying the impact of climate change and sustainability transition on work life. The focus of this first round of data collection was on the views of employees,” says Fanni Moilanen.
“In the future, we plan to complement the picture we have now with a similar survey aimed at employers. Our survey has already attracted interest from abroad due to its unique nature,” says Tuomo Alasoini.
Research project: Climate Change and Work – systematic collection of data on the impact of climate change on work life
- The project studies and develops indicators for assessing the impact of climate change on work life. The results provide a snapshot of the changes occurring in work life caused by climate change and green transition.
- The Climate Change and Work survey was carried out for the first time in spring 2022, so there is no comparative data about the topic available.
- 1,917 employees from different sectors responded to the survey in spring 2022. The data was collected in co-operation with Statistics Finland.
- Results of the survey will be published later in Finnish Institute of Occupational Health’s Work-Life Knowledge service.
- Project page: Climate change and work – systematic collection of data on the impact of climate change on work life | Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (ttl.fi)
For more information, please contact
- Researcher Fanni Moilanen, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, [email protected], +35850 576 1356
- Research Professor Tuomo Alasoini, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, [email protected], +35850 564 6140
- Senior Specialist Arja Ala-Laurinaho, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, [email protected], +35840 562 0906