New York, NY — Americans believe that companies should be at least as actively involved in maintaining and improving health as it has been in maintaining and improving the environment, and say they are more likely to purchase from, recommend, and invest in companies that act on health issues, according to a new survey.
The Edelman Health Engagement Pulse of 1,000 American adults (download - PDF) reveals a gap between how Americans want businesses to engage in health and what they believe is actually being done. Eight in 10 respondents believe it is important for business to share knowledge and innovations that improve health, and seven in 10 believe business should invest in creating healthy communities, yet only about one in 10 say business is doing an excellent or very good job of meeting these expectations. The study also showed that seven in 10 people believe it is important for business to help employees lead healthier lives.
As the healthcare reform debate continues, legislators and businesspeople alike might be surprised to learn that Americans are looking not only to government but also to business to improve our nation's health, even beyond employee wellness efforts.
"Our findings underscore that people's expectations of business have expanded; today, a company's engagement in health is material to its license to operate," said Nancy Turett, global president, health, Edelman. "Equally important is that Americans are taking action to reward companies for getting it right."
The survey indicated that more than eight in 10 respondents are likely to purchase from, recommend, trust, or work for a company that is committed to engaging in and improving health, and more than seven in 10 are likely to invest in it. These findings show that closing the gap between expectation and action could provide growth opportunities for these companies.
The survey also showed that, today, 60 percent of Americans agree that business should be at least as actively involved in maintaining and improving health as it has been in maintaining and improving the environment. "We expect this figure only to increase as health continues to emerge as a critical sustainability issue for business in much the same way that environment responsibility has," said Turett. "Health engagement will be an increasingly key strategic lever for protecting and propelling business."