Survey Finds Green Business Attitudes on the Slide

Survey Finds Green Business Attitudes on the Slide

U.K. business attitudes towards the environment are polarizing, with a small group of green pioneers in danger of leaving the bulk of their contemporaries behind, according to a new survey from printer giant Kyocera released last week.

The survey of 340 employees at U.K. organizations with over 1,000 staff also found that adoption of some environmental policies had actually deteriorated when compared to a similar survey carried out by Kyocera back in 1993.

The survey questioned C-level executives, IT chiefs and general office staff and found that the proportion of businesses that have a green office policy had fallen from 54 percent in 1993 to 41 percent this year.

Furthermore, less than a quarter claimed their firm used "environmentally conscious" suppliers, while just 31 percent said they were willing to pay a modest premium for green products, down from 60 percent in 1993.

Tracey Rawling Church, marketing director at Kyocera, said that she was shocked and disappointed by the findings which ran counter to the positive media coverage the green business movement has enjoyed in the past year.

She added that the general worsening of environmental attitudes could be at least partly attributed to an improvement in green standards. "Back in 1993 if you recycled paper and didn't use CFC spray cans you were regarded as green," she commented. "Now it is a much more complex issue and many of these businesses may have some form of environmental policy it is just that their employees no longer regard that as sufficient. There is also a sense that much of your environmental policy is covered by legal compliance with new regulations and you don't call that a green initiative as such because it is legally required."

However, Rawling Church also observed that the survey highlighted the growing polarisation between those firms with comprehensive green strategies and those that are ignoring the issue. "There is a risk that what the survey is showing is the beginning of green fatigue, which would be a terrible shame," he said. "We are seeing polarisation where a number of high profile companies are taking action but the majority aren't engaged and if anything appear to be getting more apathetic."

This article originally appeared on ITWeek's BusinessGreen blog.