Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of US adults who take part in environmental and social responsibility efforts at work are more likely to make sustainable choices at home as a result, according to the fourth annual Gibbs & Soell Sense & Sustainability Study.

Despite persistent skepticism among the general public about corporate America’s commitment to “going green,“ the majority of employed adults are interested in learning what companies are doing in terms of sustainability (74 percent) and wish their own company or employer engaged in more sustainability business practices, including “going green” or social responsibility initiatives (68 percent).

“There is a lot of research around motivating consumers to make more sustainable purchases from the perspective of product marketing, so we decided to investigate the opportunity to influence them in the workplace,” says Ron Loch, principal and managing director, sustainability consulting, at Gibbs & Soell. “We found that the ripple effect of engaging employees in sustainability activities means they are more likely to practice sustainability at home and encourage neighbors to do the same.

“However, too few employers seem to be taking advantage of this opportunity to create green consumers. Two-thirds of employees (67 percent) could not identify who at their workplace is responsible for sustainability, or said no one is responsible.”

Key findings include the following:
• Nearly three-quarters of employees who take part in sustainability initiatives at work are more likely to make sustainable choices at home as a result (73 percent) and say they wish their employer engaged in more sustainable business practices (73 percent); 80 percent of sustainability-engaged employees report encouraging others to make sustainable choices, meaning “going green” or engaging in social responsibility initiatives.
• Two-thirds (67 percent) of employees are not sure whether there is anyone at their company who is responsible for sustainability, or they say no one is responsible for sustainability at work. Nearly one-fifth (19 percent) of employees say their company does not promote sustainability at all.
• Among employed adults, there is a strong link between knowledge gained about a company’s sustainability efforts and intent to purchase from that company. Three-quarters (75 percent) of employed adults say they would be more likely to buy a company’s products or services if they learned it was making a great effort to adopt environmentally-conscious practices.
• Only 21 percent of US adults believe that a majority of businesses (“most,” “almost all,” or “all”) are committed to “going green”—defined as “improving the health of the environment by implementing more sustainable business practices and/or offering environmentally-friendly products or services.” However, most Americans (72 percent) and employed adults (74 percent) express interest in learning what companies are doing in terms of sustainability and “going green.”