Companies can gain trust from eight in 10 Americans by communicating their climate change initiatives, but the lack of communications prevents many companies from getting credit for their efforts, according to research conducted by Research+Data Insights for Hill+Knowlton Strategies and the Environmental Defense Fund.
The research shows that Americans see climate change as one of the most pressing issues facing the country. However, only 35 percent of Americans believe companies are doing more today than 10 years ago to address climate change.
If companies were to provide greater visibility into their efforts to cut down on emissions and mitigate climate change, they have the opportunity to enjoy a dramatic increase in public trust, the research revealed. Almost two-thirds (62 percent) of Americans want to learn more about private sector efforts to improve energy efficiency, and 82 percent of Americans report that increased transparency around climate change initiatives will increase the trust they have in a company.
“The key takeaway is that if companies want to build trust and strengthen their license to operate with key public audiences, they must proactively communicate the steps they are taking to address climate change and tie those efforts to clear metrics,” says Robert Ludke, head of H+K Strategies’ corporate advisory practice.
The study also revealed that 91 percent of Americans believe it is important for companies to implement greater corporate sustainability practices, while nearly two thirds (63 percent) expect companies to actively pursue and implement such policies.
“Today, most companies understand that sustainability is a critical consideration in any viable long-term business model,” says Tom Murray, vice president of Environmental Defense fund’s corporate partnerships program. “What this survey reveals is the extent to which many companies underestimate the value of accurate, transparent communications around sustainability efforts.”
Outside experts are seen by the public as the most trusted source of information to validate the climate change efforts by companies, with 51 percent of the respondents indicating that reports from third party organizations are the most credible means by which a company can convey its efforts to be more energy efficient.