A survey conducted for The Sustainability Dashboard, a Web-based system that helps organizations measure and monitor their use of fuel, water, energy, etc., finds that 43 percent of facility managers and cleaning professionals would pay more for products made by a company that practices sustainability.*
However, 28 percent of respondents indicated they would not pay more and 30 percent were “not sure.”
The survey was conducted online in January 2012. Nearly 150 people participated in the survey.
When asked, how much more are you willing to spend for a product produced by a sustainable company, 90 percent answered five to ten percent.
The survey also asked if the respondents would need proof a company is practicing sustainability: seventy-eight percent responded yes; about ten percent would take the company’s “word for it;” and the rest were unsure.
“Transparency and credibility when it comes to sustainable issues are paramount today,” says Elizabeth Steward, marketing manager for Sustainability Dashboard Tools. “No one wants another Greenwashing experience.”
Nevertheless, the respondents were divided on how this “proof” would be determined. About 25 percent would accept the company’s published reports. “But, 57 percent wanted [the reports from] independent, third-party organizations and not just the company’s word for it,” adds Steward.
Finally, the respondents were asked if operating a business or property in a more sustainable manner costs more, less, or about the same as operating in a conventional manner.
Forty-one percent were sure sustainability produced cost savings; 27 percent noted it costs more; and the rest were unsure or believed it was “cost neutral.”
“What we are finding is that cost savings is becoming a prime motivator for organizations operating in a sustainable manner,” says Steward. “Instead of being on opposing sides, sustainable and cost savings are now on the same team.”
* For purposes of this survey, sustainable companies are defined as those that operate in a socially, environmentally, and economically responsible manner.
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