Employees Take Corporate Sustainability Efforts Home, Study Says

by | Apr 4, 2013

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Employees who participate in workplace sustainability programs are likely to promote sustainable practices at home, and encourage others to participate. And three out of four will make purchasing decisions based on a company’s environmentally-conscious practices, a new study finds.

According to 2013 Gibbs & Soell, Sense & Sustainability Study, Perspectives on Corporate Sustainability Among US Adults and Employees, 80 percent of employees who are active in corporate sustainability programs will encourage other people to engage in social responsibility initiatives. Also, 73 percent of employed US adults said they were more likely to make sustainable choices at home as a result of their workplace experience with the programs.

The survey finds that 73 percent of employees wish their company or workplace engaged in more sustainable business practices.

This comes with more than half of adults (60 percent) and employees (62 percent) saying that they often see, read or hear media reports about corporate sustainability initiatives and 72 percent of adults expressing a desire to learn about what companies are doing in terms of sustainability. Three in four 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, according to Gibbs & Soell.

However, only 21 percent of all US adults and 23 percent of those employed full-time and/or part-time believe that a majority of businesses – e.g., “most,” “almost all” or “all” – are committed to “going green” defined in the report as improving the health of the environment by implementing more sustainable business practices and/or offering environmentally-friendly products or services. This level of confidence is consistent with last year’s findings, the consulting firm says.

Most employed adults — 67 percent of respondents — express uncertainty about their own company’s practices. Two-thirds (67 percent) of employees are not sure if 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 companies do not promote sustainability at all.

The report is the consulting firm’s fourth annual survey of US adults and its first year of polling of employed adults about corporate commitment to environmental and social responsibility. The company polled 2,219 US adults including 1,028 who are employed full- or part-time.

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