Sustainability & Business Survey 2007


Kaizo Greener Business: Risk or Opportunity

As part of the launch of its specialist sustainability communications service offering, Kaizo has undertaken research into attitudes towards climate change from the UK business community. The survey was engineered to assess the actions being taken by UK businesses, and how these actions are perceived/prioritised as part of the overall management strategy.

Making the changeAccording to the Kaizo survey, 62% of respondents’ businesses are actively making changes to become greener. 18% of respondents didn’t know if any changes are being made, reflecting a lack of internal awareness of many environmental programmes. An alarming 20% of businesses are not currently making any changes to reduce their contribution to climate change.

Climate change as business strategy

Less than half of the survey respondents (48%) could confirm that their business has a firm environmental policy in place. An alarming 52% of respondents said their business did not have a policy (33%) or did not know if a policy existed (19%).

In terms of importance to business strategy, it is clear that climate change remains a CSR issue for many businesses, rather than a profit-oriented priority. 37% of respondents claimed climate change was not at all important (17%) or not very important (20%) to business management strategy. However, 21% of respondents claimed climate change was very important to business strategy – reflecting the conflicting approaches to the climate change issue across the UK business community.

Making a difference

A strong majority of respondents (68%) believe their business can make a difference to climate change, whilst 18% believe any effort to reduce impact on climate change would be futile.

The difference to commercial performance made by becoming greener is also clearly recognised by 91% of those questioned, but 9% of respondents still believe there are no commercial benefits to becoming a greener business – supported by the fact that 13% believe there are no commercial risks to refusing to become more environmentally friendly.

The most common benefit of becoming a greener business was seen to be a reputational boost for a business’ brand (41%). The significance of other benefits, such as attracting new business (14%), meeting existing customer demands (6%) and attracting/keeping personnel (19%) were relatively low.

A startling 13% of respondents believe there are no risks to not becoming more environmentally conscious – even in the face of green taxes, consumer awareness/reactivity and media attention. 37% believe the issue is not at all, or not very important to their business’ management strategy.

The primary risk highlighted by respondents was negative media coverage (26%), again reflecting a lack of awareness for the wider business issues, whilst reinforcing the importance of sustainability to communications programmes. There was also a demonstrated awareness of rising energy costs (23%) and green taxes (22%) as risks to businesses not facing up to climate change.

Understanding climate change

Only 45% of respondents believe their company understands all of the changes it can make, and almost half (49%) believe their business is not doing enough to combat climate change.

67% of respondents find media coverage of climate change confusing, reflecting the conflicting messages conveyed by PR campaigns and scientific reports.

Sample information

For this research, Kaizo questioned 85 individuals from businesses across a broad range of industries, including the food and beverage sector, transport and logistics, property, manufacturing and construction.

The respondents were in management/decision-making positions.

40% of the respondents worked within companies of 1-50 employees, 7% in companies that had between 51 and 100 employees, and 52% were from businesses of more than 100 employees.

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