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Waste reduction is considered the most important environmental issue for Businesses

Waste reduction is the most important environmental issue facing manufacturing businesses today, according to a survey 10-07

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Waste Reduction Tops Manufacturing Issues

Waste reduction is the most important environmental issue facing manufacturing businesses today, according to an international study on sustainability and environmental trends conducted by Harris Interactive for Dow Corning Corporation.

Attitudes towards sustainability amongst companies around the world are revealed in the results of an international research study conducted for Dow Corning Corporation by the independent market research company Harris Interactive.

Waste Reduction and Green Product Development Top Renewable Energy

  • Waste reduction is considered the most important environmental issue in the USA; Brazil; Italy; Germany and China. Korea and India place more importance on developing green/environmentally friendly products.
  • Overall, the use of renewable/cleaner energy sources is considered less important than waste reduction or developing green/environmentally friendly products.
  • Health and safety of employees, customers and suppliers is the most important driver of environmental and sustainability decisions in all countries except Korea, where the long term business sustainability was rated higher.
  • Overall, customers and the government are the two main influencers on a company’s sustainability and environmental decisions.
  • Environmental/sustainability factors have a strong influence on selection of suppliers in all geographies – this is strongest in India where half of respondents say it is a critical factor in selection.

Key Global Sustainability Findings

  • Greater similarity found between Europe and Americas than Asia.
  • Waste reduction ranked lower in Asia than other geographies – development of green/environmentally friendly products is seen as most important by 50% of managers in Asia (65% in Korea & 45% in China).
  • Six out of ten respondents in China identified increasing energy efficiency as a top priority.
  • Globally, use of renewable or cleaner energy sources is considered least important.

Influencers of Sustainability Decisions

    Customers and Government are Main Influencers on Sustainability Progress

  • Overall, customers and the government are the two main influencers on a company’s sustainability and environmental decisions.
  • More than 7 out of 10 respondents in Asia ranked the government as one of the top three influencers, with customers second and suppliers third. Local communities and the general public were perceived as being the least important.
  • In contrast, European respondents considered customers to be the most important, followed by local communities and the general public, the government and suppliers.
  • In the United States, customers were clearly considered most important followed by the government and suppliers. In Brazil, customers were also considered most important, followed closely by local communities & the general public.
  • Overall, the environmental/sustainability influencers considered least important were shareholders, environmental campaign organizations, and the media. However, environmental campaign organizations were considered relatively highly in Korea.
  • Similar to the global average, government and customers are regarded as the most important influencers on environmental/sustainability decisions in India.

Factors Driving Environmental and Sustainability Decisions

  • Company reputation is not considered as a key factor in driving environmental/sustainability decisions.

    TOP CONCERN: Health and safety of employees, customers and suppliers

  • Managers in Europe, the Americas, China and India, consider the health, safety of employees, customers and suppliers the most important factor.
  • In Korea, the long term sustainability of their business is considered as most important.
  • Attracting and retaining employees is rated of less importance (apart from in China, where this factor was rated relatively highly).

Impact of Environmental & Sustainability Factors on Supplier Selection

  • Environmental/sustainability factors are more likely to be a critical influence on supplier selection in the Americas than in both Asia and Europe. Where 36% of those in the Americas agreed this is a ‘critical influence’; the level dropped to 29% in Asia and 24% in Europe.
  • 50% in India regard environmental/sustainability factors a critical influence – the highest proportion of the seven countries surveyed.

Responsibility for Sustainability Decision Making

  • It is more common in the Americas than Asia or Europe, to have a dedicated team responsible for environmental and sustainability decisions.
  • In Europe more than other regions surveyed, it is more usual for responsibility to be assigned to a specific person.
  • For many companies in Asia, responsibilities are either not defined or are spread widely across the enterprise – 30% of respondents said they have neither a particular person or team responsible.
  • In India there are balanced proportions in terms of level of decision-making: 35% have a dedicated team, 33% a specific person, and 31% no particular person or team.


    Survey Results for Dow Corning Corp's Sustainable Business Survey

    Learn about Dow Corning’s committment to sustainability at

    Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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