According to new research released today by YouGov and the Carbon Trust, only 5% see businesses as being most effective in helping the environment, when compared to environmental pressure groups, academics and the Government.

Surveying 1,819 adults, the research found that while the public ranked business low for its work on environmental sustainabilty, 22% see businesses as being the most effective in helping the economic recovery.

According to the Carbon Trust, this suggests that even those companies which are communicating their actions to be more sustainable are not directly associated with taking responsibility for the environment.

In addition, the public believes “the quest for a greener future” lies with environmental organisations, such as charities and pressure groups, which are seen as the most important player in tackling environmental issues and the most likely to be trusted out of any group.

The Carbon Trust’s chief executive Tom Delay said: “Whilst it’s clear that consumers still care about the environmental future, their perspective on where the responsibility falls is skewed. It cannot be solely down to environmental groups to shoulder the weight of protecting our planet’s natural resources. Businesses have an enormous role to play here and need to be seen to be doing their part”.

It also finds that the demand for green products is increasing with only 6% saying they are less likely to buy a sustainable product and/or service than five years ago, while almost three in ten (27%) said they are more likely.

Increased concern about the personal environmental impact of what they buy was the most important reason for this (45%) and 43% of the public surveyed said they lead a more sustainable life than five years ago.

Meanwhile, the research finds that five years after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, the UK public is confident that the economy can be fixed and are looking to businesses, consumers and governments respectively to take control of this.

Delay added, “These signs of confidence in economic future success should strengthen the case for a more sustainable future. As businesses look for more ways to grow, sustainability should become a golden opportunity for investment, allowing them to become more resilient to future environmental resource shocks and to cut their costs and grow their revenues. The smart companies will invest now and put sustainability inside their businesses.”

Leigh Stringer

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