According to the “2010 Gibbs & Soell Sense & Sustainability Study” released yesterday, American consumers and Fortune 1000 executives doubt that there’s widespread commitment to “go green” among corporate America. The survey was conducted online last month among 2,605 US adults and 304 Fortune 1000 executives. Among its findings:
- Corporate America may have embarked on its “sustainability” journey but still draws public skepticism. Only 29% of executives and 16% of consumers believe that a majority of businesses 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.” About half the executives (54%) and consumers (48%) surveyed believe “some” businesses are committed to “going green.”
- Financial inefficiency, market reluctance and unclear measurement are roadblocks to corporate sustainability. Executives cite insufficient ROI (78%), consumers’ unwillingness to pay more 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.”
- A lack of human capital dedicated to a sustainability strategy is a major concern. Most companies have merely added responsibilities for green efforts to the primary duties of a team (35%) or to a C-suite or another senior-level position (15%). Only about one in 10 say they have a C-suite or other senior person dedicated solely to sustainability (12%). About a third (31%) said there’s no one at their organization primarily or even partially responsible for green initiatives.
My Thoughts: So, do businesses really want to “go green”? Not based on the results of this particular study. It starts with top-down commitment by a C-level manager (and team) whose only duty is moving the sustainability strategy forward. This is clearly lacking. The second bullet point above can be summed up as $$$. In the right instance and using the right methods, all these anti-sustainability monetary objections can be answered. It’s no wonder most consumers don’t believe companies want to “go green” based on the aforementioned corporate apathy and financial opposition.