2012 Tork Report Finds Growing Concerns in Business and Consumer Attitudes toward Sustainability and Hygiene
- In 2012, nearly twice as many U.S. companies had (or were putting) sustainability plans in place over 2011
- Despite recent weather-related disasters, a quarter of U.S. firms (26%) have not prepared for how environmental risks impact them
- Half of adults (47%) who eat at work do so at their desks - which carry 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- SCA, the makers of the Tork® brand of away-from-home paper products and one of the most sustainable companies in the world, announces availability of the 3rd annual Tork Report, a comprehensive look at sustainability issues and hygiene practices among North American businesses and consumers. The 2012 Tork Report, titled The Sustainability Gap, highlights areas where companies have made progress in improving sustainability goals but also identifies trends that have taken a step backward. The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive among 1,015 U.S. and 555 Canadian business professionals and 2,114 U.S. adults age 18 and over.
In 2012, 64 percent of U.S. companies said they had (or were putting) a sustainability plan in place, nearly double the 38 percent of companies that reported this in 2011. Furthermore, 31 percent of U.S firms and 30 percent of Canadian firms say their sustainability plans are having a positive impact on the bottom line.
The 2012 Tork Report combines original research conducted by Harris Interactive with commentary and additional research regarding sustainability and hygiene from several sources, providing a comprehensive look at one of society's most important concerns: How we take care of our resources.
"We've seen sustainability continue to be important to consumers and business alike," said Mike Kapalko, Sustainability Marketing Manager for SCA AfH Professional Hygiene in North America. "A real area of concern is the gap; companies reporting they have sustainability plans, yet they ignore the risks to their business from climate change, severe weather, or unhealthy employee habits."
Moving beyond Sustainability 1.0
While most companies have acknowledged sustainability as a necessary part of doing business, "most have not thrown their full weight behind the effort," writes sustainability expert and Tork Green Hygiene Council member Josh Radoff. In his call to action for companies to push further, he notes "we've approached the end of Corporate Sustainability 1.0, where the low-hanging fruit has been picked, and the basic levels of expectations have been met. Thus, there is a large gap between the status quo and the next level of achievement – the effort to dig down to the core of a company's social and environmental impact."
In order for businesses and consumers to get to the next level of achievement in sustainability, the 2012 Tork Report points to initiatives that can help. These include:
- Reducing food waste: Americans waste 40 percent of the nation's food supply², the single biggest contributor to solid waste in landfills.
- Adding a universal sustainability index – a guide to help consumers and companies make smarter product choices – was deemed a good idea by three-quarters of people surveyed.
- Reduce the amount of "green washing," or false claims by companies that tout a product's environmental benefits.
Taking Better Care of Ourselves
Sustainability plans should include the health of a company's workforce, as reflected in the popular notion of the three P's: People, Planet and Profit. Yet, as a whole, we don't do a good job of taking care of ourselves, the 2012 Tork Report finds.
There is a substantial gap in understanding why it is important to wash our hands. Most people wash their hands after using the restroom – although 33 percent of men don't³ - we don't wash our hands after using the most germ-infested items we touch each day. Less than half of Americans wash their hands after using gym equipment, handling money or taking public transportation. Why does this matter? Because countless items – such as microwave door handles, elevator buttons and restaurant menus – are more germ-infested than restrooms³.
A downloadable copy of the 2012 Tork Report is available here.
For further information or to request an interview about the 2012 Tork Report, please contact Katie Meacham at Burson-Marsteller. Katie.Meacham@bm.com or (312) 596-3409.
¹Source: Desk bacteria from ConAgra Foods and American Dietetic Assoc.
²Source: Natural Resources Defense Council
³Source: SCA Global Handwashing Poll, October, 2012
The Tork brand offers professional hygiene products and services to customers ranging from restaurants and healthcare facilities to offices, schools and industries. Products include dispensers, paper towels, toilet tissue, soap, napkins, and industrial and kitchen wipers. Through expertise in hygiene, functional design and sustainability, Tork has become a market leader. Tork is a global brand of SCA, and a committed partner to customers in over 80 countries. To keep up with the latest Tork news and innovations, please visit: torkusa.com or tork.ca.
SCA is a global hygiene and forest products company that develops and produces personal-care products, tissue, publication papers and solid-wood products. Sales are conducted in some 100 countries. SCA has many well-known brands including the global brands TENA and Tork, and is the world's largest producer of away from home products. Sales in 2011 amounted to $16.5 billion. SCA has approximately 37,000 employees. For more information about SCA, please visit: www.sca.com
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
SCA delivers sustainable solutions with added value for our customers from safe, resource efficient and environmentally sound sourcing, production and development. Recent third party accreditations for the SCA sustainability work include Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2011, the WWF Environmental Paper Company Index 2011, and Ethisphere – World's most ethical companies 2012.
The general adult survey was conducted online within the United States from August 22nd – 24th, 2012 among 2,114 adults (18 and over) by Harris Interactive on behalf of SCA. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
The business professional survey was also conducted online in the United States and Canada between August 23rd–September 5th, 2012 by Harris Interactive on behalf of SCA North America from interviewing a random sample of 1,015 U.S. professionals and 555 Canadian professionals (managers and above), both male (60% – US; 53% – Canada) and female (40% – US; 47% – Canada) representing several industries and professions. Additional methodology details can be found in the 2012 Tork Report.