To Green or Not to Green: Is Corporate America Implementing Strategies to Protect the Environment?

A New Harris Interactive Study Looks at “Going Green” Efforts Through the Eyes of IT Decision Makers

ROCHESTER, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–It is almost impossible for one to pick up a newspaper, magazine or access the Internet without seeing an article concerning the “greening” of Corporate America. A recent study conducted by Harris Interactive® with more than 300 IT decision makers indicates there is a plethora of thoughts and activities for “Going Green”. While the majority of companies have implemented “Going Green” strategies with recycling and proper waste disposal, overall only 41 percent of corporations have deployed virtualization or server consolidation strategies to save on energy cost.

What is “Going Green”?

Today, as part of their corporate citizenship, brand equity, and go to market strategy, some corporations are implementing a “Going Green” strategy. One definition of “Going Green” is designing, selling, or funding eco-friendly products and services. For example, does your company recycle old electronic products to properly dispose of electronic waste such as lead and mercury?

Innovative “Green Thinking”: Why or Why Not?

Attitudes for adopting “Green Thinking” are diverse among the IT professionals surveyed. About 16 percent might be put in an “anti-green camp”, saying that corporations should be environmentally friendly only if they can do so and achieve their profitability goals. However, 71 percent might be described as “pro green”, believing that corporations should go beyond governmental requirements in their efforts to be environmentally friendly (39%) and that they should be environmentally friendly even if they have to sacrifice some of their profitability goals (32%).

Among those IT professionals that either have implemented a going green strategy or are in a pilot phase, fifty seven percent say “Going Green” is good for business. Fifty-five percent say that “going green” reduces their energy costs, thus improving profitability, while 53 percent say that being environmentally friendly is a corporate value. Only 27 percent say that the decision to implement this strategy is due to top management, and 21 percent say that the implementation is due to government regulatory requirements.

On the flipside, for those with that have not implemented a “green strategy”, the reasons for not implementing are varied:

* Twenty-six percent says that they “fully comply with current governmental regulations for environmental safety”, while 25 percent says that they have other pressing corporate needs;
* One quarter isn’t sure of what actions that they must take to “Go Green” in the most cost effective way;
* Twenty percent indicate that they don’t have the funds to implement a “Going Green” strategy;
* Sixteen percent feel that they are already environmentally friendly.

How Do They Do It? Actions Taken in “Going Green”

Nevertheless, despite the positive attitude toward “going green” efforts, the plot thickens when asked about the firms’ actual actions in becoming “a green company” and when focusing on the actions that are underway. Ultimately, there appears to be a lot more bark than bite, since most of the action is in recycling programs and very few firms are doing the heaving lifting that includes adopting alternative power solutions and designing energy efficient buildings.

Only nine percent say they have a fully implemented plan across all areas of their respective companies and about 32 percent say they are in “pilot mode” or have partially implemented something in departments considered appropriate. Nearly one-quarter (23%) say their company has no plan at all.

According to Milton Ellis, Vice President and Senior Consultant of the Harris Interactive Technology Practice, “‘Going Green’ represents a win-win opportunity for IT suppliers and users of virtualization technologies. More people would agree that being kind to our environment is a good thing. So like motherhood and apple pie, wouldn’t you expect businesses to get behind the ‘Going Green’ movement? Seems like a logical thing to do.”

TABLE 1

VIEWS ON CORPORATE COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT

When considering corporations commitment to the environment, what statement best describes your view?

Base: All respondents

  Total
%
Corporations should go beyond governmental requirements in their efforts to be environmentally friendly 39
Corporations should be environmentally friendly even if they have to sacrifice some of their profitability goals 32
Corporations should be environmentally friendly only if they can do so and achieve their profitability goals 16

Corporations should only meet the environmental requirements set by the governmental agencies within the countries they operate

6
Corporations dont really have to be environmentally friendly, but if they do it is a good thing 4
No opinion 3

TABLE 2

CURRENT STATUS OF GOING GREEN

When considering Going Green, what best describes the current status of your company?

Base: All respondents

  Total Small Business Medium Business Enterprise
% % % %
No plans at the present time 23 36 23 17
Pilot program in place in limited areas of the company 17 6 22 21
Currently in the planning stages 16 13 13 18
Fully deployed in departments that were considered appropriate for going green 15 13 20 15
Fully deployed across all areas of the company 9 24 3 5
Implementation will start within the next 12 months 4 2 8 4

TABLE 3

REASONS FOR NOT GOING GREEN

You indicated you have not had plans for a Green Strategy at the present time. What statement best describes the reason for your statement?

Base: No current going green strategy

  Total Small Medium Enterprise
% % % %
We fully comply with current governmental regulations for environmental safety 26 22 20 31
We have other pressing corporate needs (i.e., marketing, sales, profitability, etc.) 25 24 27 26
We aren’t sure of what actions we must take to “Go Green” in the most cost effective way 25 24 11 31
We just don’t have the funds to implement a “Going Green” strategy at the present time 20 24 37 10
We are already environmentally friendly 16 15 11 18
We want to wait until other have implemented their programs so that we can learn best practices from their experience 5 6 4 5
None of these 9 11 2 10

TABLE 4

REASONS FOR GOING GREEN

What statement best describes your reason for implementing a Going Green strategy? Please select all that apply.

Base: Going green strategy deployed or in pilot phase

  Total Small Medium Enterprise
% % % %
It is just plain good business 57 60 61 54
“Going Green” reduces our energy cost thus improving our profitability 55 47 52 61
Being environmentally friendly is one of our corporate values 53 71 42 49
It enhances our company image and brand with all of our stakeholders 36 18 28 49
Top management is driving the decision 27 22 14 34
Governmental regulatory requirements 21 7 29 24
None of these 2 4 2 *

Note: Multiple response question

* Less than 0.5%

TABLE 5

ACTIONS TAKEN IN GOING GREEN IMPLEMENTATION

You indicated your company has a pilot program or has implemented a Going Green strategy. What actions have your company taken in implementing your Going Green strategy? Please select all that apply.

Base: Going green strategy deployed or in pilot phase

  Total Small Medium Enterprise
% % % %
Proper disposal or recycle program for old computers, CRTs, and electronic equipment 85 87 82 85
Replace older CRT monitors with lower power LCD monitors 82 78 77 85
Recycle program for old print cartridges 86 84 80 85
Separate disposal containers for paper, plastic, and metals for recycling 70 82 58 68
Replaced incandescent lighting with more energy efficient fluorescent lighting 66 73 71 61
Bins for proper disposal of dead batteries 48 51 42 49
Server and storage virtualization for data centers to reduce power consumption 41 20 26 56
Automatic lighting controls to dim or turn out lights in rooms not in use 37 13 34 49
Redesigned, enhanced or replaced HVSC systems with more energy efficient units 35 29 31 39
New building constructed conforms to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 23 11 23 29
Installed solar panels on building 12 2 9 17

Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive between November 7 and 20, 2007, among 308 IT decision makers (i.e., those who are responsible for technology product and service purchase decisions for their company).The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. businesses based on company size.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the largest and fastest-growing market research firms in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its North American, European and Asian offices, and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com.

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