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Looking to big business to turn the environmental corner

82% of Americans who believe that climate change was caused by human activity think that private companies in the US should have responsibility to help fight it.

Sadia Corey VP, Client Development 10/01/2023
58% of Americans think private companies should offset their carbon emissions

Privately held companies in the United States have had growing pressure from investors, customers, and regulators to develop and institutionalize oversight of their climate-related performance and targets. With their public counterparts making strides in their reporting strategy, private companies are also slowly starting to be more vocal about their planning and policy for the upcoming years. 51% of Americans think that private companies should be responsible for committing to climate change goals financially.

Across the political lines, both Liberal Americans (91%) and Conservative Americans (79%) share the belief that private companies in the US should have responsibility to help reduce climate change.

Consumers, especially, are looking to brands and companies to spearhead climate-related initiatives, including ways to ensure improvement in products’ environmental impact. 58% of Americans who believe in climate change think private companies should offset their carbon emissions, and 66% think that private companies should be responsible for using environmentally friendly materials. Additionally, 62% believe that private companies should be responsible for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, and 58% believe that private companies should be responsible for creating products that are regenerative to the environment.

Common fears surrounding our environmental impact

Many Americans who believe that climate change was caused by human activity are worried about multiple impacts that climate change might have on the US, including extremely hot temperatures (57%), mass air pollution (55%) and destruction of wildlife due to forest wildfires (54%). 48% of climate change believers are worried about the impacts climate change will have on deadly hurricanes in the US.

Americans are most worried about the impact climate change will have on agriculture resulting in scarce food availability (23%), with mass air pollution (17%) and extremely hot temperatures (16%) coming in as second and third. 12% of Americans are worried about the impact’s climate change has on rising sea levels and mass flooding.

What do consumers look for?

In terms of what consumers are already looking for in their products, the majority pay attention to the sustainability of the foods and products that they buy (67%), with it being significantly higher in liberals (78%) than conservatives (65%). 58% of Americans who care about the sustainability of their products look for a product that is reusable. 54% look for products that were made from recycled materials, or reduced or no plastic packaging, and 41% look for a product to be durable.

The role that laws and governments play

This year, Congress passed the Climate Law under the Inflation Reduction Act which orders the US to spend $375 billion over the next 10 years on clean energy and climate resilience. This is estimated to reduce emissions by about 40% and is a big move to transition away from climate-causing fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas. However, only half of Americans are aware of the 2022 Climate Law: 61% of Liberal Americans as opposed to 56% of Conservative Americans, and 28% of Americans with no political affiliation.

Most Americans think that more action on climate change should be taken by the US government (72%).

The global trend towards climate action by companies is clear, as evidenced by the historic Paris Agreement of 2016 and the involvement of 195 countries — including the US after a slight detour between 2020 and 2021. The pace of change may vary between countries, but there is no doubt that big business is driving it worldwide and the world is slowly but steadily turning the environmental corner for the better.

To find out more about the work we do on sustainability, download our latest Sustainability Report.

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Audience market segmentation | Business & Professional Services (B2B) | Quantitative | Thought leadership

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