Private account

Do you already have an account? Login now


Days 30
Prices from 1.495 DKK

Prices is excluding VAT

Fill in

Payment types: Dankort, Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Maestro

Do you already have an account? Login now

Reset your password below

Back to login

Sustainability as part of the employer branding strategy


In this article, we look at what sustainability is and how it can be used in an employer branding context - without it being misused.

But first let's define what sustainability is. Sustainability is used in different contexts:



  • Earth's resources are characterised by being scarce - until we find a new way to create materials and energy. So in an environmental context, sustainability is about taking care of the Earth and  also the Earth's resources, so it can be passed on to the next generations - in the same condition as we took over the Earth when we were born
  • If you produce organic goods, you avoid pesticides and take care of the environment
  • With fair trade, which is an international labelling scheme, you ensure that the product is produced under good environmental conditions and that the farmers and plantation workers receive a fair price for the product
  • The EU flower is an environmental label that sets strict environmental and chemical requirements


  • A sustainable society has a sustainable energy supply and consumption that reduces the (worst) negative effects on: environment, natural resources, climate and human health
  • Society emphasises that the sustainable initiatives are economically feasible and socially acceptable


  • In relation to economics, sustainability talks about: circular economy - which is the opposite of linear economy. Linear economy is where we produce, distribute and consume from the resources that we have extracted from the earth. Circular economy, on the other hand, is based on the reuse of resources. It's not just about reusing clothes, shoes and the like - but also reusing water, wind and solar power


Under the auspices of the UN, 17 global sustainability goals have been adopted. Some of the targets can be set up in clusters. If you are considering having social sustainability for your company, in order to, among other things, attract the new generation of employees (generation Z) - then there are a number of sub goals that you must focus on helping to achieve.

Social sustainability

Social sustainability covers a number of the 17 global goals, namely these goals are:

  • End poverty (#1)
  • Zero hunger (#2)
  • Good Health and well-being (#3)
  • Quality education (#4)
  • Gender equality (#5)
  • Sustainable cities and communities (#11)
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions (#16)

Let's take some concrete examples:

  • If there was no poverty and hunger, or poverty was minimised, there would be benefit to go to school. So how can your business help end poverty?
  • If we have a society where there is room for diversity and equality between the sexes, the inequality curve will be broken and equality will increase. Ultimately, trust between the population groups will be strengthened. You can therefore consider whether gender quotas are something that your company should use or not?
  • How can you, in the workplace, avoid that some employees feel marginalised in relation to local society? How can your company create social security where the individual is valued? Could you employ more employees with origins other than native speakers?

This leads us to the next point, namely: what is the difference between ESG and CSR?

CSR versus ESG

If we start by looking at what CSR and ESG are abbreviations for - then it is easier to see the differences:

  • ESG stands for: Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance
  • CSR is an abbreviation for: Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate governance is about good corporate governance, including the system of: Rules, principles and processes by which the company is characterised. ESG is therefore primarily targeted at investors and thus shareholders - but is also an important part of CSR. It will be elaborated on later in this section.

CSR targets a wider group of stakeholders, namely: Employees, customers, authorities, etc. With CSR, the company takes a social responsibility by showing said responsibility in relation to the local community and the global world.

For the largest companies in Denmark, it is required by law to incorporate an explanation in the annual report in relation to the companies' social work. You can read more about this at (in Danish) 

If you want to work purposefully with CSR, you can choose to follow:

  • ISO 26000 'Guidance on social responsibility', which is an international standard
  • DS 49001 'Management system for social responsibility', which is a Danish standard

Areas of effort you can choose to adhere to are:

  • Organisation (ESG is at the heart of all CSR work, so CSR is not only applied in practice in parts of the company, but throughout the company)
  • Human rights (free choice of trade union; freedom of expression; gender quota; creating jobs for people with disabilities)
  • Working conditions (working conditions; employment conditions; development opportunities; collective agreements; health and safety)
  • Environment (prevention of pollution; sustainable use of resources; protection of nature, combating climate change)
  • Good business practice (including ethical behaviour and creating a procurement and/or supplier policy)
  • Consumer affairs (comply with marketing rules and product rules; protect consumer health, sustainable consumption, privacy protection)
  • Local community development (participate and invest in local associations; create jobs and apprenticeships; enter into partnerships with local educational institutions)

However, the biggest pitfall in this context is greenwashing.


What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is when companies market products and services that claim to be more sustainable than they actually are. This is a beautiful painting and bad marketing practice. 

According to the Consumer Ombudsman, it is illegal to use the word: Sustainable - without a life cycle assessment. 

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a method of assessing which potential:

  • Environmental impacts and
  • Resource consumption

is linked to a product or service.

Although it is tempting to call your products or services sustainable - without this perhaps being the case - you can choose to say that the company has an overall CSR goal, but that you have "only" completed some (small) sub-goals so far. 

If you would like to read more about what the Consumer Ombudsman says in relation to ethics and the environment in marketing, you can read on here (in Danish).

With all that knowledge about: Sustainability, CSR and greenwashing etc. are we ready to tie the knot in relation to attracting the workforce of the future - namely: Employer branding.

employer branding

Employer Branding

Let's start backwards. You must avoid greenwashing by all means!

You must also avoid appearing to have double standards. Example:

If you want to celebrate diversity and show the rainbow flag - then you must not at the same time underpay factory workers in Bangladesh or other developing countries. So what do wage conditions in Bangladesh have to do with it, you might be thinking?

If you "only" pay the statutory minimum wage, there is no question of social sustainability. Because how can a textile worker be able to pay for anything other than simply surviving?

With a minimum wage, there is no room to pay for either access to health care or the children's schooling.

In other words, if you do not help factory workers to get out of hunger and poverty - which are the first two world goals - then you cannot support the process towards achieving gender equality, which is the fifth world goal.

If you want to market your company as socially sustainable, there is no point in doing it half-heartedly. 

In relation to employer branding, it is central that you appear as a trustworthy and socially responsible company with a sustainable profile, if you want to emphasize sustainability as part of your employer branding strategy.

You have just seen the recipe above, where there are a large number of points that you can work on in concrete terms.

If you want to be inspired to work further with employer branding, click on the button below.