Green business initiatives worthwhile finds U.S. study

Green biz

Despite persistent skepticism among U.S. employees about corporate America’s commitment to “going green” the majority of U.S. employees are interested in learning what companies are doing in terms of sustainability (74 per cent) and wish their own company or employer engaged in more sustainability business practices, including social responsibility initiatives (68 per cent). According to the fourth annual Gibbs & Soell Sense & Sustainability® Study, while 80 per cent of sustainability-engaged employees encouraged others to make sustainable choices – the majority were unaware of who at their workplace is responsible for sustainability.

Said Ron Loch, principal and managing director, sustainability consulting, Gibbs & Soell: “We found that the ripple effect of engaging employees in sustainability activities means they are more likely to practice sustainability at home and encourage neighbours to do the same. However, too few employers seem to be taking advantage of this opportunity to create green consumers. Two-thirds of employees (67 per cent) could not identify who at their workplace is responsible for sustainability, or said no one is responsible.”

Key findings of the report included:

  • Sustainability-engaged employees expressed a mutual relationship between sustainable activities at work and the choices they make at home. They also want to see their company and others more actively involved in sustainability initiatives. Nearly three-quarters of employees who take part in sustainability initiatives at work are more likely to make sustainable choices at home as a result (73 per cent) and say they wish their employer engaged in more sustainable business practices (73 per cent).
  • Many employed adults reveal a gap in or express uncertainty about their own company’s practices. Two-thirds (67 per cent) of employees are not sure whether there is anyone at their company who is responsible for sustainability, or they say no one is responsible for sustainability at work. Nearly one-fifth (19 per cent) of employees say their company does not promote sustainability at all.
  • Among employed adults, there is a strong link between knowledge gained about a company’s sustainability efforts and intent to purchase from that company. Three-quarters (75 per cent) of employed adults say they would be more likely to buy a company’s products or services if they learned it was making a great effort to adopt environmentally-conscious practices.

The general public continues to doubt corporate America’s commitment to sustainability. But, despite their skepticism, most U.S. adults and employees want to learn about green business initiatives. Only 21 per cent of U.S. adults believe that a majority of businesses (“most,” “almost all,” or “all”) are committed to “going green” – defined as “improving the health of the environment by implementing more sustainable business practices and/or offering environmentally-friendly products or services.” However, most Americans (72 per cent) and employed adults (74 per cent) express interest in learning what companies are doing in terms of sustainability and “going green.”

To obtain a summary of Gibbs & Soell’s Sense & Sustainability Study, please visit the business communications firm’s website.

by Sara Bean