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Execs Worried About Climate Change, Not Doing As Much as They Could

Posted by: Heather Green on September 22, 2008

According to a poll of 150 execs in Fortune 1000 companies, 80% are personally concerned about climate change….but for the most part, their companies aren’t doing much about it.

In the survey, conducted this spring for pr and IR firm Makovsky, 73% of the respondents agreed that taking action as corporations could help make companies more competitive and 61% believed that their actions could effect change on the environment.

Yet while 76% say that their companies should be working with industry groups, suppliers, or customers on CO2 emissions standards, only 57% said their companies were.

Meantime, 71% think their companies should be educating employees on climate change issues, but only 49% are.

Why? Here’s Makovsky’s take, based on their survey.

First, the survey suggests that more sweeping business action with respect to climate change is hindered for the moment by two traditional factors: resource allocation and cost. 60% and 47%, respectively, cite “more important business priorities” and “cost of implementation” as the barriers to their company taking action with respect to climate change issues.

Second, despite their convictions, executives believe it is unfair to single out business as the major culprit and the source of answers, and feel that the responsibility should be shared with individuals and government. When asked how much responsibility certain entities should bear for addressing climate change, a similar number of executives cited corporations (19%), individuals (19%), the federal government (27%) and foreign governments (21%) as having all or most of the responsibility.

“American business leaders as a group are deeply concerned about global warming and believe that responsible environmental policies make business sense,” said Robbin S. Goodman, executive vice president and a partner at Makovsky + Company. “The challenge moving forward, however, is to unleash these convictions.”

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BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.

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