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CT Businesses Report Lack of Knowledge as Major Barrier to ‘Green’ Initiatives

Lack of knowledge is the  primary challenge businesses face in their efforts to implement ‘green’ initiatives, with the gap widening significantly since last year, according to the Connecticut Business & Industry Association’s (CBIA) fourth annual Sustainability and Connecticut Business Survey, reports EastCourier.com.

Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents said the greatest barrier to going green is a lack of knowledge, compared to 10 percent in 2009. Other barriers cited by respondents include cost (24 percent), a lack of clear business case for sustainability (21 percent), combination of several areas/other (16 percent), lack of company leadership (5 percent), and lack of tools and resources to implement and integrate sustainability (5 percent).

According to a study by MIT Sloan Management Review (MIT SMR) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a lack of understanding of what sustainability is and what it means to an enterprise, difficulty modeling the business case, and flaws in execution, even after a plan has been developed are three major barriers to decisive corporate action.

The CBIA survey finds that 74 percent of survey respondents have adopted sustainable strategies, up from 47 percent in 2007, 59 percent in 2008, and 73 percent in 2009.

Yet, an estimated 20 percent of respondents admit that they are not sure if their companies engage in sustainable business practices.  Other key findings show that 9 percent are not sure if their businesses have adopted green business practices in the products and services they purchase or use, and 7 percent are not sure if their businesses have adopted green practices in the products and services they produce or provide.

The survey indicates that the primary goal for implementing green measures is to reduce operating costs, according to 64 percent of respondents. This is followed by their commitment to environmental and social responsibility, say 57 percent of respondents.

Other reasons for going green include enhancing company image (38 percent), responding to customer requests (20 percent), anticipating or preempting future regulation (14 percent), growing market share (13 percent), and earning government grants, loans, or rebates (11 percent).

The report also shows that energy represents the largest area of green business activity among companies surveyed, with 71 percent already engaged in energy efficiency/conservation and another 16 percent getting started. The most common measures include upgrades to lighting (95 percent), HVAC (47 percent), occupancy sensors (33 percent), furnaces/boilers (32 percent), motors (25 percent), air compressors (24 percent), process equipment (21 percent), and refrigeration (13 percent).

Only 15 percent of businesses report an increase in revenue from going green. Thirteen percent says it has hurt their bottom line, and 18 percent say it has helped. Yet, 45 percent of respondents indicate that green initiatives have had a positive impact on their client/customer relationships, public image (41 percent), employee morale (39 percent), and supplier/vendor relationships (23 percent).

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