61 Million—the amount of Gen Zers entering the workforce in the United States this year. That’s a massive wave of employees, and they are yearning for something previous generations haven’t insisted on at work — social responsibility.
For Gen Z (born 1994–2008) the number on their paycheck isn’t even a top three priority according to the 2017 Change Generation Report conducted by the Lovell Corporation. What are they looking for in the workplace? Passion, socially-conscious work and work-life balance. This push towards doing good vs. making more is placing unprecedented interest and involvement in corporate social responsibility (CSR) from the C-Suite to employees, resulting in more equality, diversity, activism and sustainable practices in business.
PolyVision in Action
PolyVision recently released PolyVision in Action, a report on their formula for developing and sustaining leading CSR in the CeramicSteel market. With three focus areas — Education + Community + Sustainability — PolyVision is prioritizing future leaders, stronger communities and sustainable choices. Guido Vervaeren, a product manager based in Belgium, says that sustainability is interwoven into PolyVision’s DNA. “One of Steelcase’s, and therefore PolyVision’s, core values is to protect the environment. This means behaving in ways which demonstrate a caring for health, safety and wellbeing of others and the resources of our world.”
This global view is reflected in writing surfaces at schools around the world thanks to donations from the company. With partnerships that range from Teach for India, the American Academy of Jordan and universities across the United States, PolyVision’s top-of-the-line CeramicSteel writing boards are making an impact for thousands of students and teachers worldwide. A post-installation study conducted in seven cities across India after PolyVision’s donation revealed that 97 percent of teachers believe writing on boards is an essential tool to increase learning after their experience of increased student engagement and communication with the donated boards.
Along with materials, schools and communities receive time and energy from PolyVision and Steelcase employees through United Way volunteers. Passionate about giving back and improving local communities, the nonprofit provides a pathway for PolyVision to touch real people and address real problems. The opportunity to spend time during the workday volunteering is precisely the type of benefit Gen Z, and many socially-conscious employees are looking for — and employers are listening. A study conducted by Forbes and the Corporate Responsibility Association found that 85% of respondents said that employee volunteer programs are part of their company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Leading the Industry
Where PolyVision’s commitment to CSR is genuinely leading the industry is their circular economy business model. A focus on separating economic growth with consumption and waste has led to the design and production of the company’s e3 CeramicSteel, which contains no VOCs and is 99.9 percent recyclable and is the only CeramicSteel surface to achieve global Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Bronze level. The Cradle to Cradle program focuses on the characteristics of sustainable materials, products and systems and has strict standards that must be met for certification.
PolyVision e3 CeramicSteel is also certified by SCS Global Services as Indoor Advantage Gold™. Indoor Advantage Gold certification assures that building material products support a healthy indoor environment by meeting strict indoor air quality (IAQ) chemical emission limits for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Beyond two prestigious certifications, Vervaeren says that conservation efforts are also demonstrated by the other sustainability requirements PolyVision meets. “PolyVision holds certification for OHSAS 18001 (occupational health and safety management systems), ISO 14001 (environmental management systems) and ISO 9001 (quality management systems).”
A Circular Commitment
With a push for social responsibility and innovation in the workforce leaders like PolyVision are transforming our linear economic model into a circular system that reduces the impact on our environment and provides everyone a seat at the table. With early estimates developed by Ellen MacArthur Foundation and partner McKinsey & Company indicating that adopting circular economy principles could generate a net economic benefit of 1.8 trillion euros for Europe by 2030 — doubling the benefits offered by the current linear model — companies prioritizing CSR are proving doing business and doing good can be harmonious. Learn more about PolyVision’s commitment to CSR.