Has sustainability run its course? Perhaps, according to recently released “Sense & Sustainability” report from G&S Business Communications.
The survey of 1,158 Americans conducted by YouGov found a notable increase in “passivity,” described as people who “do not use any source to learn about corporate efforts to promote sustainability.”
Twenty percent of 2014 respondents to the 2014 “did not seek information about what businesses are doing to contribute positively,” according to the G&S report.
That figure rose to 25 percent in 2015, 27 percent in 2016 and 32 percent this year.
G&S didn’t speculate about why respondents are becoming more passionate about passivity.
My hunch: blame it partly on Donald Trump, along with stagnant wages, job security and healthcare concerns.
Trump has railed against environmental protection as a job-killing example of federal intervention at its worst. For instance, he has been trashing climate change for at least the last five years, going far beyond the “denier” category.
He tweeted in 2012: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Chinese hoax. Fake news. Pick your poison.
On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to cancel the Paris Accord climate treaty. Nice job, Ivanka in trying to lobby dad.
In August, he began the formal process to exit the climate agreement, but expressed a willingness to “re-engage” if the US can negotiate a better deal for American businesses, workers and taxpayers.
That’s a smokescreen. Renegotiation is a non-starter for the nearly 200 countries that signed the Paris Accord and agreed to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Trump appointed global warming denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, which he sued dozens of times during his days as Oklahoma attorney general.
Pruitt made national news when he said it was “insensitive” to discuss if the warmer Caribbean waters contributed to the power of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, while recovery operations were underway.
Meanwhile, Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has toured the country in search of national monuments to downsize.
Zinke has been in the national spotlight this week for commenting that a third of Interior’s staffers are not loyal to Trump. Democrats are demanding an apology.
A President sets the tone through words and actions. It’s no wonder why people are becoming more passive about sustainability, an environmental issue that doesn’t register to Donald Trump.
Unless there’s political upheaval in Washington, sustainability faces a tough patch during the next three years.
CSR and environmental PR people have their work cut out.