Global Mobility’s Role in the Sustainability Story 06.7.2023 | Gina Grover

We feel and witness the effects of climate change almost every day, from widespread droughts to winter tornados. Many of us have adapted our habits to try to be more conscientious consumers, reducing our intake and recycling and reusing wherever possible. But studies reveal that the greatest impact will come from something other than a consumer level, but from the corporations who are most in control of how we spend and what we spend it on.

Reversing the effects of our changing climate relies on today’s companies to reshape the way they do business. And today’s top talent is paying close attention to who is committed to making a real difference, aligning themselves with employers who support their values in sustainability.

In a recent study by Handshake (a career-search portal for college students), almost two-thirds of respondents said they were more likely to apply for a job at a company that was committed to sustainable practices.

That same study showed that three out of five respondents avoided employers perceived as having a negative impact on the environment. What’s good for the Earth is now good for your talent strategy and long-term success, so it’s not surprising that 85% of employers have documented environmental sustainability goals at a global, corporate level.

The Environmental Impact of Mobility

By its very nature, global mobility has one of the highest per-capita carbon footprints of any HR function. For example, with air travel required for and during an international assignment (including trips home), assignees leave a large carbon footprint. Shipments of goods — via surface, sea, or air shipment — contribute to CO2 usage as well. With this in mind, Global Mobility should be asking the business some key questions to determine if the move or assignment is 100% necessary:

  • Can the business goals still be met by offering a virtual relocation?
  • Could the position be filled locally?
Mobility’s Role in Doing Better

Even with most companies offering documented sustainability goals, global mobility needs to be tapped to contribute to them. A recent AIRINC report reveals that just 26% of mobility departments are active participants in shaping sustainability at either the corporate or HR function level. We want to equip you with some insights to add to your company’s sustainability goals to demonstrate that when Global Mobility has a seat at the table, real change can happen!

Getting Started

To build a sustainable mobility program, consider these steps to start the process:

  • Establish mobility mission and values statement
  • Create a collaborative effort
  • Set sustainability goals and define measurement standards
  • Communicate with mobile employees and mobility stakeholders
  • Measure action and report against goals
  • Continuous improvement
Sustainability in Action

Pick the Right Partners

While employees are being offered more transparency and the opportunity to make sustainable choices, the larger focus in the global mobility space is coordinating sustainability standards with suppliers and vendors. 78% of participants in AIRINC’s report have either built sustainability targets into vendor contracts, they intend to do so in the new year, or they take sustainability credentials into consideration when selecting vendors. When partnering with suppliers, look for practices that reflect a commitment to sustainability, such as the following:

  • Temporary Living Providers
    • Sell their gently used furniture to keep it out of landfills
    • Use earth-friendly cleaning products and place recycling receptacles in every unit
  • Destination Service Providers
    • Provide virtual tour options
    • Have gone paperless
    • Use EV vehicles for tours
  • Household Goods Providers
    • Use recycled packing materials
    • Use greener trucks and vehicles
    • Work with small shipment partners to efficiently accommodate smaller shipments
Policy Enhancements

Beyond working with like-minded supply partners, there are policy enhancements that can provide sustainable options for your relocating employees:

  • Provide ride-share credits to use during travel
  • Offer discard and donate services
  • Provide a furniture allowance in lieu of a shipment
  • Encourage furniture rental in the new location in lieu of a shipment
  • Offer virtual language and cultural training
 A Client Story: Sustainability in Action

A Weichert client recently implemented a points-based mobility program that identifies sustainable benefits, such as virtual destination and family transition services, furniture rental in lieu of a shipment, and use of public transportation. By offering and identifying these Earth-friendly options, relocating employees can feel empowered to make “green” choices and even be rewarded with more points if a sustainable relocation benefit is chosen. The client has a full view of the utilization of these sustainable benefits and can use this data to measure against their sustainability goals.

The Bottom Line

Sustainability is not just a buzzword but a mindset necessary for both business and the planet. Providing relocating employees with “green” relocation benefit options reflects your company’s commitment to sustainable practices and empowers them to feel like they are actively contributing to those practices. Providing these options also helps to increase awareness that will inspire behavioral change that goes beyond their relocation.

When we make choices that help create a better planet for the generations after us, it feels good. And feeling good is contagious! For more insight into how to develop mobility programs and policies that align with your company’s ESG goals, talk to us.



Weichert Policy Database

Sustainability in Global Mobility, AIRINC

Sustainability & Global Mobility Benchmark, AIRINC

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Written by Gina Grover

Drawing on over a decade of mobility and consulting experience, Gina works directly with Weichert’s clients across multiple industries to identify solutions through proven research and benchmarking. Gina is a Minnesota native (you betcha!) who woke up one day and decided to move to Florida with her family.


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