Yeah, right. Consumers don't believe corporations' assertions about "going green"

Aug. 19, 2010
There's widespread doubt about corporate commitments to “go green.”

U.S. consumers and Fortune 1000 executives doubt there is widespread commitment to “go green” among corporate America.

So says the 2010 Gibbs & Soell Sense & Sustainability Study conducted online last month by Harris Interactive among 2,605 U.S. adults and 304 Fortune 1000 executives. Key findings include:

•Only 29% of executives and 16% of consumers believe most 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 of all executives and consumers believe only “some” businesses are committed to “going green.”

•The reason more businesses aren't going 'green,' according to executives, include 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%).

•More than two-thirds of executives (69%) indicated their companies have people responsible for sustainability or “going green” initiatives. But for the most part, responsibilities for green efforts have just been added 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 executives say they have a C-suite or other senior level title/position dedicated solely to sustainability (12%), while 31% have nobody primarily or partially responsible for green initiatives.

Says Ron Loch, senior vice president-greentech and sustainability practice, Gibbs & Soell, “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.”

A summary of the Gibbs & Soell Sense & Sustainability Study is available on the Gibbs & Soell website, www.gibbs-soell.com

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