Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of employed U.S. adults who take part in environmental and social responsibility efforts at work are more likely to make sustainable choices at home as a result, according to the fourth annual Gibbs & Soell Sense & Sustainability® Study. Despite persistent skepticism among the general public about corporate America’s commitment to “going green,“ the majority of employed adults are interested in learning what companies are doing in terms of sustainability and “going green” (74 percent) and wish their own company or employer engaged in more sustainability business practices, including “going green” or social responsibility initiatives (68 percent).
“improving the health of the environment by implementing more sustainable business practices and/or offering environmentally-friendly products or services.”
Gibbs & Soell, a global business communications firm with expertise in sustainability consulting and employee engagement for the advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and food, financial services, and home and building markets, commissioned Harris Interactive® to conduct the fourth edition of the Sense & Sustainability Study®. Harris Interactive conducted the online poll between February 28 and March 4, 2013 among 2,219 U.S. adults, including 1,028 adults who are employed full-time and/or part-time.
“There is a lot of research around motivating consumers to make more sustainable purchases from the perspective of product marketing, so we decided to investigate the opportunity to influence them in the workplace,” 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 neighbors 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 percent) could not identify who at their workplace is responsible for sustainability, or said no one is responsible.”
Key findings include the following:
- Sustainability-engaged employees express 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 percent) and say they wish their employer engaged in more sustainable business practices (73 percent). 80 percent of sustainability-engaged employees report encouraging others to make sustainable choices – meaning “going green” or engaging in social responsibility initiatives.
- Many employed adults reveal a gap in or express uncertainty about their own company’s practices. Two-thirds (67 percent) 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 percent) 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 percent) 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 percent 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 percent) and employed adults (74 percent) express interest in learning what companies are doing in terms of sustainability and “going green.”
Gibbs & Soell has a long-established communications record in sustainability consulting, corporate social responsibility, and successfully launching and guiding the growth of green products, technologies and practices. The firm counsels a growing roster of clients to help them align sustainability to their corporate strategies, produce compelling sustainability reports, and engage key stakeholders, including employees, in constructive dialogue.
Copyright TIGERS Success Series by Dianne Crampton
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