Equilibrium & Sustainability

3 in 4 young Americans stress importance of firms operating in environmentally sustainable way: survey

Building next to trees.

Three in 4 young Americans in a new poll stressed the importance of businesses operating in an environmentally sustainable way, though few of that age group see U.S. businesses working that way today.  

The Bentley-Gallup Force for Good poll, released Thursday, found that 77 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 said that they think it’s “extremely important” that businesses operate sustainably for the environment and the planet.  

Nearly three-quarters of young Americans — 74 percent — also stressed it’s extremely important for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and emissions, and 72 percent said it’s important to focus on “long-term benefits to society” over short-term profits.  

But just 14 percent of young Americans said that they think U.S. businesses are operating sustainably. A mere 12 percent said businesses are working to reduce their carbon footprint, and 14 percent said businesses are focused on those long-term societal benefits.  

Young Americans are significantly more likely than other age groups to prioritize environmental and social factors, pollsters noted. 

Seventy-one percent of young workers also report they’re willing to leave their current job “to work at an organization that has a greater positive impact on the world,” according to the survey, which found that American adults’ likeliness to agree falls with each older age group. 

The 45-59 year age bracket was the least likely to list the environmental factors as important, with just 52 percent saying sustainable business is important and 43 saying it’s important for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.  

A third of adults in the oldest two brackets, ages 45-59 and 60 and over, said that they think businesses are currently doing well at sustainable operations.  

But older Americans’ confidence dips slightly when asked whether businesses are focusing on long-term benefits — to just 24 percent of adults ages 45-59 and 27 percent of adults ages 60 and over who think U.S. businesses are doing well in that regard. 

The poll surveyed 5,757 U.S. adults from June 8 to 19 with a margin of error of 1.9 percentage points.


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