Businesses Fail To Engage Consumers on Environmental Issues

by | May 20, 2010

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Eighty-four percent of Americans say they can help companies create products and services that benefit consumers, business and society but only 53 percent feel that companies are engaging with them on corporate social/environmental practices and products, according to the 2010 Cone Shared Responsibility Study.

Survey respondents say they are prepared to help influence corporate social/environmental practices through surveys and research (70 percent), buying or boycotting a company’s products (44 percent) or through email, phone or employee communications (32 percent).

The survey also finds that the majority of consumers want to be involved at all levels: how a company conducts its business (85 percent), products and packaging (83 percent), social and environmental issues (81 percent) and marketing and advertising (74 percent).

But 75 percent of Americans say when it comes to consumer interaction companies are failing, giving them “C,” “D,” or “F” grades on how well they are engaging consumers around critical business issues.

A key finding reveals that if a company incorporated their ideas, consumers would be more likely to buy its products and services (60 percent), be more loyal (54 percent) and more likely to recommend the company (51 percent).

Ninety-two percent of survey respondents say they want companies to tell them what they’re doing to improve their products, services and operations but 87 percent are skeptical about them sharing negative information and 67 percent are confused by the messages companies use to discuss their social and environmental commitments.

Consumers also indicated several ways for a company to help solve social and environmental issue, which include developing new products and services, changing the way it operates such as using only sustainable materials and collaborating with nonprofits, governments, competitors or other groups to address issues collectively.

In terms of the government’s role in addressing climate change, 67 percent of Americans believe it’s very important for Congress to address the nation’s energy needs, according to a weekly Pew Research/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll.

But only 32 percent of respondents say it is very important for Congress to address climate change in the coming months. PEW Research says these findings are consistent with previous surveys that show the public putting a low priority on addressing climate change.

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