Annually beginning in 2009, the WI Sustainable Business Council and the WI Department of Natural Resource’s Green Tier Program conduct a survey on “sustainability” efforts of businesses in Wisconsin. These surveys are intended to be both a snapshot in time, and also to serve as a measure of progress on sustainability efforts.
In 2012, we surveyed 1600 Wisconsin companies. This list was made up of all companies that were previously surveyed, plus companies that have reported to the Wisconsin DNR under the air emissions inventory or waste management reporting systems. We did include the 100 largest companies in Wisconsin, determined by a list compiled by Forward Wisconsin (2009), and additional small and medium sized companies that had been identified for their interest in, or their commitment to, sustainability.
The survey was sent via email to identified sustainability contacts four separate times over a series of several weeks.
This survey used the term “sustainability” but is meant to encompass efforts of companies to green their business, to improve their environmental or social performance, or in other ways to respond to stakeholder pressures to be better citizens or be more responsible.
Response rates have always been high, with the 2012 response rate being 34%. High response rates may indicate that companies of all sizes are paying attention to sustainability.
The vast majority of respondents are active in the sustainability area, focusing on energy efficiency, waste and recycling, and water conservation. Driving forces towards sustainability appear to be cost reduction and efficiency improvement as well as corporate image and brand reputation. Conversely, cost and perceived lack of return on their investments are sited as being the biggest barriers to sustainability.
Comments on the survey analysis, the questions used, or any other observations, can be submitted to Tom Eggert at email@example.com.