4 Worst Business Sectors on the Environment

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

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.”

Sarah Lozanova is a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Mother Earth Living, Energy International Quarterly, Triple Pundit, Urban Farm, and Solar Today. Her experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School and she resides in Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in Midcoast Maine with her husband and two children.