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4 Worst Business Sectors on the Environment

Sarah Lozanova | Monday May 18th, 2009 | 10 Comments

At a time when consumer trust is very low, companies will need to earn trust to thrive. An extensive study by Havas Media, the Sustainability Framework 09, examines which sectors are perceived to have the lowest environmental and social performance.
This study of 20,000 consumers was completed early this year in 10 markets and spanned more than 50 brands in 8 sectors. This thorough study has provided numerous insights that provide extremely valuable to businesses across the globe. One such nugget is how different sectors are viewed regarding overall corporate social responsibility.
The Four Sectors with the Lowest Perceived Environmental and Social Performance Are:


1. Oil/Petroleum
2. Automotive
3. Cleaning/Personal care/Beauty products
4. Electricity and gas

cleaning%20products.jpg
Considering the study also found that 48 percent of consumers are willing to pay a 10 percent premium for products and services produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, this information can indicate which sectors are under-performing or at very least not communicating environmental and social progress effectively with consumers.
“Companies need to find a way to start to replenish and renew that sense of trust with consumers and sustainability is a key way that a business can do that,” says Guy Champnis, director global business insights for Havas Media Intelligence.
A staggering 64 percent view companies’ sustainability communications in as a “marketing tool.” This lack of perceived authenticity means that many companies are missing out on enhanced brand value.
“Consumers are not letting go of longer-term problems that are related to the sustainability debate, such as poverty, inequality, environmental pollution, and concerns over water use, etc.,” explains Champnis. “Consumers are probably actually seeing those issues in some way as contributors to the current situation we’re in.”


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  • http://social-fix.blogspot.com/ Grampa Ken: Social Fix

    Democracy’s ‘free enterprise’ has been too free as it has allowed the corporate world to design our social standards for their profits. We have been convinced that we require more of just about everything, much of which is non-essential or promotes unhealthy living.

    It’s difficult to predict just how the years ahead will play out. To fix things we need to return to a more rational existence that is satisfying, fair and sustainable. We cannot continue with our high flying lifestyles and need to downsize our wants, from the super rich to middle class citizens. And the lives of the unfortunate lower class must be improved and poverty eliminated.

    We need change and maybe the internet will make things happen.

  • Anonymous

    Grampa Ken – I agree with the second part of what you’re saying, but I think you’re confusing democracy & free enterprise with consumerism and materialism. The latter are the problems, not the former.

  • http://social-fix.blogspot.com/ Grampa Ken

    I think free enterprise is too free as unethical business practices become more widespread. They may not break the law in many cases but it harms.
    Practices like:
    Misleading ads delivering disappointing products, services or values.
    Branding kids is morally wrong yet progresses creatively and vigorously.
    Selling unhealthy foods which are cheaper to produce and more profitable.
    Fine print advertisements and contracts that are too hard to understand.
    Inferior product quality faking quality made as a means to reduce costs.
    Sub-contracting production to hide unethical use of cheap or unfair labor.
    Merchandising environmentally unfriendly, wasteful or useless products.
    Junk mail, spam, telemarketing – annoying, excessive, costly advertising.
    Trick labels require careful study word by word to get the true facts.
    Store sales displays catch you at the checkout with the regular price.
    Shock entertainment and commercials sell, but soil social standards.
    Credit gouging, and so much more greed make up our free-enterprise.
    In my opinion it’s just wrong and is causing a lot of social problems.

  • Shannon

    I agree with the list above (Good thoughts there!) We must remember that the companies are ultimately ruled by the dollar, which is ontrolled by us – the Consumer. We need to stop shelling out for all these things. If we individually resist rewarding (spending) what we don’t agree with, we can collectively make a big difference. Today, don’t buy something that you normally might have, but it goes against the grain! Practice this regularly.

  • Sarah Lozanova

    Grandpa Ken- That’s a good list. One of the biggest challenge to what Shannon spoke of is awareness. The corporate control of the media comes to mind as a big obstacle, hence websites like this one are very valuable.

  • http://trueslant.com/annefield/2009/05/19/are-americans-just-stupid/ Anne Field

    On the topic of awareness:
    I looked at that study when I was noodling around the web and noticed a different finding. Some 89% of Chinese consumers said they hear about the term “sustainability” often, compared to 21% of those in the U.S. 21%! Actually, all the emerging nations were more aware of sustainability than Americans.
    What is going on? Is it poor coverage by the media? Or what? And how can we ensure that better information gets out to consumers?
    I wrote about it in mu blog, Not Only for Profit. I really find this finding quite distressing.

  • http://social-fix.blogspot.com/ Grampa Ken: Social Fix

    “Is it poor coverage by the media?”
    Anne: Anup Shah with over 550 articles on Global Issues goes into some depth on media and advertising.
    “The sheer amounts of money this brings to media companies is significant and in many cases the main form of support for the media company. Hence if something is reported that the advertiser doesn’t like, the media company risks losing much needed revenue to stay alive. . .
    With sub-sections:
    Free media channels have a cost
    The Audience as the Product
    The Audience also as the Consumer
    Advertorials – Advertisements disguised as News!
    Advertainment – Advertisements disguised as Entertainment!
    Product Placement
    Political influence
    Military in Movies – Less Shock, More Awe
    Globalization of consumers
    A nice site about the things that concern us.

    http://www.globalissues.org/HumanRights/Media/Corporations/Ads.asp

  • Anonymous

    Grampa,
    I think that the control of news, especially TV news, in the hands of a small number of mega-corporations does have something to do with the appalling level of coverage, not just of sustainability, but of everything. And a poorly informed electorate is a lot more easily manipulated than an informed group of citizens. (I think that motivates Fox News and right-wing talk radio, in particular).
    But, mostly, I think this inadequate coverage is caused by a mix of laziness and an interest in running what most easily will attract viewers. In other words, the cause is less a big-corporation right-wing conspiracy than looking for the easiest way to make a buck.
    Another question is: How is it that the Chinese know so much about sustainability? Surely, the quality of government-controlled news isn’t any better there. It must be that the government has decided that they want the population to know about this issue.
    FYI: I misspelled my name! It’s Anne Field

  • http://trueslant.com/annefield/2009/05/19/are-americans-just-stupid/ Anne Field

    Grampa,
    I think that the control of news, especially TV news, in the hands of a small number of mega-corporations does have something to do with the appalling level of coverage, not just of sustainability, but of everything. And a poorly informed electorate is a lot more easily manipulated than an informed group of citizens. (I think that motivates Fox News and right-wing talk radio, in particular).
    But, mostly, I think this inadequate coverage is caused by a mix of laziness and an interest in running what most easily will attract viewers. In other words, the cause is less a big-corporation right-wing conspiracy than looking for the easiest way to make a buck.
    Another question is: How is it that the Chinese know so much about sustainability? Surely, the quality of government-controlled news isn’t any better there. It must be that the government has decided that they want the population to know about this issue.
    FYI: I misspelled my name! It’s Anne Field (Not Only for Profit)

  • http://social-fix.blogspot.com/ Grampa Ken: Social Fix

    Yes it really is about money Anne. Even the inaction of government is in part a result of the corporate influence on the politicians.
    “Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” – Cree Indian Proverb