CT Businesses Report "Going Green" Worthwhile; Sustainability Has Multiple Impacts

Eight in ten Connecticut companies that have invested time and money in “going green” say the effort has been worthwhile, citing benefits on the bottom line as well as improved employee morale, public image, and client/customer relationships. According to a new survey,  the main barrier to going green is cost, the factor cited by 65% of businesses.  Among companies engaged in sustainability, the strongest areas of involvement are energy efficiency (90%), waste management (77%), and green purchasing (74%).

Those are among the findings of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) 2013 Sustainability and Connecticut Business Survey.  Sponsored by UIL Holdings, Inc., the survey gauges Connecticut companies’ commitment to environmental principles in their business operations and the impact of those efforts on business performance, stakeholder relations, and communities served.

The survey found that nearly two-thirds (66%) of Connecticut businesses engaged in sustainability. This is up from less than half (47%) in 2007, when CBIA first surveyed companies—but down from 74% in 2010, when the previous survey was conducted.

Mostt businesses (72%) find Connecticut’s environmental regulatory climate more restrictive than other states, according to the survey.  And nearly three-quarters of businesses surveyegoinggreen-icond (74%) say they would take advantage of state government incentives for going green, such as tax incentives and refunds for capital investments.

Among the other findings this yea, posted at www.cbia.com/business, include:

  • Renewable energy is the area of greatest interest among businesses for future activities.
  • Though slightly more than half (53%) of the companies surveyed say current economic conditions have not changed their level of commitment to sustainable business practices, 11% have stepped up their efforts, while 9% have made green practices less of a priority. Eighteen percent say green practices are part of their DNA.
  • Nearly one-third of businesses surveyed (32%) require others in their supply chain—manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and retailers—to adopt green business practices; 28% say that their own customers have requested or stipulated that they incorporate green business practices into their supply chain; and 9% have received similar requests from vendors.

The 2013 Sustainability and Connecticut Business Survey was emailed to 5,035 businesses in late April and early May; 434 businesses took the survey, for a response rate of 9% and a margin of error of +/- 4.8 %.  Most respondents (77%) were small businesses employing fewer than 50 workers. Businesses represented include manufacturers (33%), professional services (23%), retail (9%), nonprofit associations (8%), construction (6%), wholesale (6%), healthcare (5%), finance, insurance, and real estate (5%), and technology firms (4%). Companies engaged in hospitality, tourism, arts, and entertainment accounted for the remainder of respondents.