Visible sustainability efforts may improve people’s opinions of your campus
Considering the increased awareness surrounding plastic pollution, it comes as no surprise that the public is becoming more environmentally conscious; these shifting perceptions should influence our approach to campus management. A recent survey by SC Johnson Professional revealed that noticeable sustainability initiatives could improve people’s opinions of an organisation and make them more likely to return.
To better understand how environmental sustainability considerations may affect UK consumer behaviours and perceptions, SC Johnson Professional commissioned YouGov to survey a representative sample of consumers in the UK, with a total of 2,093 people responding.
Product choice is a key route to visibility.
For those wanting to make their efforts more visible, the YouGov survey found that choosing products that reduce a company’s environmental impact to be one of the top ways it can show that it is taking steps to be more sustainable.
54% of respondents believed that businesses should demonstrate sustainability efforts through this route. For example, when looking at hand hygiene products, respondents stated that a focus on sustainability in the product’s manufacture is second only to a product’s features, such as its effectiveness and how pleasant it is to use.
Sustainability efforts should be visible.
When it comes to a company’s reputation, over half (55%) of the survey’s respondents said that environmental sustainability efforts improve their opinion of an organisation.
However, it is important that these efforts can be clearly seen; 57% of respondents said they are more likely to choose to return to a public facility if it is making visible and clear improvements to reduce the environmental impact of its operations.
When it comes to working environments, 24% of respondents said they are more likely to visit offices if they are taking clear steps to operate in an environmentally sustainable way. Whilst people often can’t choose the office they work in, they do have agency over which restaurants, cafes, or leisure centres they visit. In facilities such as these, where customers have more freedom to choose, the number who are more likely to visit a restaurant or shop if they are taking clear and visible steps to operate in an environmentally sustainable way grows to 47%.
Young people and women more likely to favour sustainability efforts.
In general, the results of the SC Johnson Professional survey show that younger consumers tend to favour more sustainably conscious organisations. The younger the respondent, the more likely they are to choose to return to a public facility if it is making visible improvements to reduce the environmental impact of its operations (66% of 18–24-year-olds vs 53% of 55+).
Likewise, when asked to what extent, if at all, environmental sustainability efforts improve their opinion of an organisation, 70% of 18–24-year-olds said it would be improved versus 50% of those aged 55+. A further 53% of 18–24-year-olds agreed that companies should demonstrate sustainability efforts even further by working with relevant charities or organisations. As the next generation of consumers and workforce, it is important to recognise the behaviours, preferences, and values of younger respondents.
In addition to age, the SC Johnson Professional survey found female respondents to be more likely to consider the environment and sustainability in relation to questions asked about facilities. For example, women scored more likely to return to offices, and to visit cafes, restaurants, and leisure facilities if they are operated in a sustainable way. These findings align with data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which states that women are more likely to make an environmentally conscious lifestyle change.
Demonstrate that your facility is making sustainable choices.
Considering a move towards visible environmental sustainability efforts on your campus?
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Made with the equivalent of 16 x 500ml Recovered Coastal Plastic waste plastic bottles (excluding caps and labels), the Proline WAVE 1 litre dispenser can be used with the full range of SC Johnson Professional® foam soaps, which, compared with traditional lotion soaps, provide people with an effective, pleasant hand wash using up to 45% less water and 30% less product when washing and rinsing.
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 Office for National Statistics (2021). Three-quarters of Adults in Great Britain Worry about Climate Change - Office for National Statistics. [online] www.ons.gov.uk. Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/threequartersofadultsingreatbritainworryaboutclimatechange/2021-11-05.
 Recovered Coastal Plastic is post-consumer recycled plastic collected on land within 31 miles / 50 km of an ocean so that it does not reach oceans or landfills, in countries with high volumes of uncollected plastic waste.
 SC Johnson Professional sponsored study: Media4Change Ltd. How a Single Change in a Washroom can significantly reduce water consumption and associated costs, 2011