Survey reveals ‘huge gap’ between business leaders and the public on sustainability

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New poll reveals many businesses are failing to live up to customers’ environmental expectations

The public increasingly wants to see businesses take a more proactive stance on environmental and social issues, but their support for an overhaul of corporate priorities is not matched by business leaders.

That is the conclusion of a major new YouGov survey commissioned by the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business, which revealed “a huge disparity between public opinion on how businesses should behave when it comes to environmental and social issues, and how businesses are conducting themselves”.

The survey polled over 1,100 senior British business decision makers and over 2,300 members of the public. It found that while 50 per cent of business decision makers said they have no net zero strategy, three quarters of British adults thought they should have one.

Similarly, 30 per cent of senior business decision makers surveyed said that their purpose was to generate profit over sustainability, growth or purpose, whereas 42 per cent of British adults said businesses should balance profit with social and environmental justice and a further 25 per cent said a business’ purpose should be to make a positive impact on society.

Professor Ian Thomson, director of the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business, said: “At a time where social inequality is growing, and time is running out to meet the target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, our survey shows that the British public expects and believes that businesses should be taking an active role in combatting these issues.”

However, the survey reveals that business remains out of step with public opinion on a range of environmental and social issues.

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