Why Public Opinion on Climate Change Matters to Business

A big percentage of Americans believe that climate change will end up being disastrous for the world. (Image:  maxpixel /  CC0 1.0)
A big percentage of Americans believe that climate change will end up being disastrous for the world. (Image: maxpixel / CC0 1.0)

A big percentage of Americans believe that climate change will end up being disastrous for the world. According to surveys by the Pew Research Center, almost three-fourths of the U.S. population is of the opinion that storms in the country will worsen due to climate change. They also expect plant and animal life to be severely affected by the changing climate.

Given such negative expectations of people, it should be fair to assume that they will hold a negative view of businesses deemed damaging to the environment and contributing to degrading climatic conditions. Around 61 percent of Americans are willing to change their lifestyle in case it will have a positive effect on climate change. As such, businesses should also hold themselves to such high standards.

While about 46 percent people say that better fuel efficiency for vehicles would combat climate change to a good extent, almost 45 percent participants responded that businesses should be charged a corporate tax incentive that would encourage them to reduce their carbon emissions. And this tells us one simple thing — people are interested in making businesses’ carbon footprints lower and that their respect toward a particular business would multiply manifold if an organization was to take steps to control its pollution.

And as far as politics is concerned, there is a big difference between the Republicans and Democrats. While Democrats believe that corporate tax incentives would help to bring down the carbon footprint of businesses, Republicans are of the view that such measures have little to no effect on climate change.

 A committee of four U.S. House of Representatives had sent a letter to both Apple and Alphabet (a holding company of Google) enquiring about how they were handling their user’s personal details like location data and privacy settings. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

And as far as politics is concerned, there is a big difference between the Republicans and Democrats. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Two ways businesses can benefit from acting against climate change  

Build up positive coverage — As explained above, the public has a rather negative view about businesses that do damage to the environment. This presents an opportunity to position your business as being pro-environment, which ensures that your products will always be seen in a positive light by the customers. In contrast, if it were to be reported that your business was releasing toxic greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and that it has begun to affect the local flora and fauna, the public would hold such a negative view about your products that no amount of marketing would be able to counter falling sales.

Attract new customers — Some people are so much into climate change and environmental causes that they will only purchase goods that are deemed good for the global ecosystem. And this is something you can easily use to create a new market for your products. If you were to cut down your carbon footprint significantly so that your business generates 35 percent lower greenhouse gases than other manufacturers, then this is something you should definitely advertise on your product. And when such customers see your product package and your claim of being 35 percent less polluting than others, they will likely end up buying it.

When customers see your product package and your claim of being 35 percent less polluting than others, they will likely end up buying it. (Image: maxpixel / CC0 1.0)

Combating climate change need not be a purely profit-based decision for the business. It can be an ethical one as well. Even if the business were to make no profit (or loss) in adopting a “pollution-free” standard, it is recommended that you think about implementing it. And by doing so, you will not only be focusing on earning the respect of the public, but also the organization’s employees and shareholders. This will benefit your business in the long run.  

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