Most Manufacturers Worry About Reducing Waste: Study

Most Manufacturers Worry About Reducing Waste: Study

A majority of manufacturers in the U.S., Italy, Brazil and Germany believe reducing waste is the most significant environmental issue they face, a new study revealed.

Yet in Korea and India, developing environmentally friendly products trumps waste reduction, use of renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions in terms of importance, the study found. It was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Dow Corning Corp.

"What's clear from these results is that while there are differences in emphasis around the world, the priority for companies both big and small, is to reduce their own environmental footprint through reducing waste," Peter Cartwright, Dow Corning's executive director for environment, health and safety, said in a statement. "While the focus today may be on dealing with waste, in the future I anticipate we'll see more emphasis on areas such as CO2 emissions and use of renewable energy sources as the whole issue of climate change gets more attention."

Sixty percent of Chinese respondents chose increasing energy efficiency as their top sustainability priority. Using renewable energy is considered less important among all respondents.

The study found that customers and the government hold the largest influence over a company's environmental decisions overall.

There are, however, regional differences. For instance, more than 70 percent of Asian respondents said the government, customers and suppliers the top influencers, respectively.

By contrast, Europeans said customers were the biggest influence on a company's sustainability and environmental decisions, followed by local communities and the general public.

Environmental issues are a strong influence when companies choose suppliers, particularly in India where is is considered a critical factor.