Firms investing in green initiatives are likely to attain competitive advantage through improved customer and employee retention, according to a major new global survey of almost 17,000 people.
The survey from polling organisation Ipsos MORI questioned members of the public across 15 major markets found that over half said they prefer to buy products and services from companies with good environmental reputations, while almost eight out of 10 claim they want to work for "environmentally ethical" organisations.
Rick Snyder, Americas president at video conferencing technology specialist Tandberg, which commissioned the survey, said the results proved that firms that invest in greener business models can gain a competitive advantage.
"It is clear that a company’s green credentials impact employee and customer retention," he said. "And in the long term that can help determine competitive advantage."
The survey also found limited variation in attitudes towards green brands across different economic groups, countries and age groups.
"We expected attitudes to vary a lot, but while there were some differences across different countries, overall support for greener business models was fairly constant across all groups," said Snyder. "It means that customers for green products are everywhere and anywhere."
The report did not assess the extent to which a preference for green suppliers and employers is translating directly into improved retention rates, but Snyder maintained that there was little doubt people's positive attitude towards green brands was informing their purchasing and employment decisions.
"Because the idea of green brands is still relatively new we don’t have quantitive evidence that shows how much financial value you get from green initiatives," he explained. "However, those companies that are running green campaigns are seeing huge engagement from employees and in the coming years they will begin to more clearly see competitive advantage in the form of improved staff and customer retention rates."
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