Monday 4 November 2019 5:15 am

City firms must prove their responsible business credentials to attract top talent

Brexit has been top of the agenda for many City firms, but there is so much more that they should be thinking about.

When I speak to young City workers at the start of their careers, they want to know that their employers are standing up and making a positive difference. They want to work for firms that are paying the Living Wage, using renewable energy, and cutting carbon emissions.

Indeed, research commissioned by the City of London Corporation shows that the current generation of young people entering the workforce are more environmentally conscious than the millennials who preceded them.

In our survey, 80 per cent of 18-22 year olds ranked tackling single-use plastics as important or very important for employers – and 37 per cent said that they would consider a potential employer’s environmental responsibility when looking for a job.


So, we know that there is now an overwhelming desire for companies to demonstrate their responsible business credentials in order to be the best and attract the top talent.

That’s why the City Corporation is taking bold and practical action to be one of the capital’s most responsible organisations. And we are working closely with many businesses who are taking great strides alongside us. 

So what actions have we taken? First, we are partnering with Square Mile firms to tackle climate change through the Green Finance Institute – a key part of the answer to this global crisis – and we have ambitions to mobilise capital to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon and climate-resilient economy.

As part of this, we are eradicating unnecessary single-use plastic across our organisation, switching to 100 per cent renewable electricity, and joining RE100, putting us alongside the world’s leading organisations which have made the commitment to get to 100 per cent renewable power. 

And our Plastic Free City campaign – a rallying call to City businesses to tackle single-use plastics – now has 93 firms signed up, together employing 78,000 people.

Also, our new Living Wage policy covers all staff, including our 143 apprentices, our work experience students, and our contractors and subcontractors. And last year, we encouraged London’s firms to adopt the Living Wage through a major publicity campaign which reached five million people in the capital.

This year, we have enhanced our commitment to tackling mental health at work by investing in in-house mental health first aiders.


Our ambitious 10-year social mobility strategy aims to not only level London’s playing field, but to make it fairer too, ensuring that everyone can participate, compete and succeed. And in June, over 130 leading global businesses including Google, KPMG and Amazon took part in our major careers festival for more than 5,000 young Londoners. 

We are also helping to break down barriers to women’s progression in the workplace. 

We’ve signed the Women in Finance Charter, partnered with the government to develop guidance for businesses to close the gender pay gap, and pledged to increase the number of women in senior roles across all areas of our organisation to 45 per cent by 2023.

Plus, our gender identity policy ensures that all our services are fully inclusive and do not discriminate against trans people.

There are hundreds of social and environmental issues facing the planet, and they exist within our supply chains, our communities, and our businesses, and so we need to address them urgently.

But the UK’s future workforce is expecting more employers to step up. It’s clear to me that many firms need to go further.

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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