The Power of Two: Conservation and Corporate Environmental Responsibility

provided by The Nature Conservancy


he majority of Americans feel that corporations should team up with environmental groups to protect land and save imperilled species, and that reaching this goal does not have to come at the expense of a healthy economy, according to a recent survey commissioned by The Nature Conservancy.

The report, conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide Inc. and titled The Power of Two: Conservation and Corporate Environmental Responsibility, found that about 70 percent of Americans believe that partnerships between corporations and conservation groups are a highly effective means of protecting the environment. It also finds that more than two thirds of all Americans believe it is possible for economic development and environmental protection to be achieved simultaneously.

"This survey confirms what we at The Nature Conservancy have long believed -- that people place a high priority on the environment and think that protecting it should be a joint mission of the corporate world and conservationists," said John C. Sawhill, president and chief executive officer of The Nature Conservancy. "Americans are tired of hearing about conflicts between the two and want to see us working together to achieve our goals in unison."

Roper Starch Senior Vice President David Rockland agreed, saying the public wants to see results and collaboration between corporate and environmental groups is essential to the conservation process.

"The traditional model of environmental groups forcing corporations to make environmental changes doesn't work," Rockland said. "Instead, Americans see a shared role for both types of organizations in a partnership toward environmental improvement."

Consistent with previous surveys, the report found that pollution remains a chief concern among Americans. But 66 percent of those surveyed say more action should be taken to protect threatened species, and nearly 70 percent believe the nation should set aside more natural areas for wildlife.

Part of the 1998 Green Gauge, Roper Starch's annual survey tracking environmental attitudes and behaviors, the study also found that nearly six in ten Americans desire a balance between economic growth and protecting the environment, but generally feel that protecting the environment should win out when both can't be achieved together.

The survey also finds that Americans favor companies with a proenvironment image. Almost eighty percent of Americans say they are likely to have more positive feelings about companies that are in some way associated with an environmental group and almost 75 percent said they are likely to buy the company's products or services, the report revealed.

  The Nature Conservancy is a private, international, nonprofit organization established in 1951 to preserve plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. To date, the Conservancy and its more than 900,000 members have been responsible for the protection of more than 10 million acres in the United States and Canada, and have helped through partnerships to preserve more than 60 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The Conservancy owns and manages more than 1,340 preserves, the largest private system of nature sanctuaries in the world.