Do corporations really want to go Green?

David Bellm

January 30, 2014

3 Min Read
Do corporations really want to go Green?
Corporations and sustainability


Corporations and sustainability

U.S. consumers and Fortune 1000 executives doubt there is widespread commitment to “go green” among corporate America, according to the 2010 Gibbs & Soell Sense & Sustainability Study released today.

The study was conducted online in July 2010 by Harris Interactive among 2,605 U.S. adults and 304 Fortune 1000 executives on behalf of Gibbs & Soell, a global independent public relations firm with communications expertise in advanced manufacturing, energy, greentech, and sustainable industries. Key findings include the following:

    * Corporate America has embarked on its journey toward sustainability, but still draws public skepticism. Only 29% of executives and 16% of consumers 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.” Many executives (54%) and consumers (48%) believe only “some” businesses are committed to “going green.”

    * Financial inefficiency, market reluctance and unclear measurement are impeding the path to corporate sustainability. Executives cite insufficient return on investment (78%), consumers’ unwillingness to pay a premium for green products or services (71%), and difficulty in evaluating sustainability across a product life cycle (45%) as the top barriers to more businesses “going green.”

    * Shared duties reflect the nascent stage at which many businesses are organizing their human capital around a sustainability strategy. While more than two-thirds of executives (69%) indicated their companies have people responsible for sustainability or “going green” initiatives, most have merely added responsibilities for green efforts to the primary duties of a team of individuals (35%), or a C-suite or another senior level position (15%). Only about one in 10 say they have a C-suite or other senior level title/position dedicated solely to sustainability (12%), while 31% noted there is no one at their organization who is primarily or partially responsible for green initiatives.

Founded in 1971, Gibbs & Soell develops and implements communications strategies to engage consumer and business audiences across a broad array of industries. Its rich history includes successfully launching and guiding the growth of green products and technologies, manufacturing processes and business practices, including energy-efficient building systems, nature-based plastics and chemicals, biofuels, water conservation, and plastics recycling.

“This general skepticism about the corporate commitment to environmental stewardship represents a critical communications challenge for business leaders,” stated Ron Loch, senior vice president-greentech and sustainability practice, Gibbs & Soell. “Closing this credibility gap is going to require actions and communications that connect with key stakeholders. Having a dedicated staff and line item budget for green initiatives is an important step in making believers of employees, customers, and investors. For connecting with consumers, it means transparency and consistency of message.”

“There is a wealth of evidence indicating the business value of pursuing sustainability. This study highlights the need for chief executives to evaluate the messages they are sending and to equip themselves with a communications strategy that addresses their organization’s full range of stakeholders in order to chart a more direct path toward sustainability and business growth,” Loch said.

SOURCE: Gibbs & Soell, Inc.

Photo by idiolector


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