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Small Business Digest


When It Comes to Ecology, Status Quo Will Do, Most Firms Say

In the next year, two-thirds of chief financial officers surveyed say their companies won’t be making any changes in focus on eco-friendly programs.

Of the 1,400 finance chiefs of small and large companies surveyed, 68% listed “no change” as their response. The survey, developed by Robert Half Management Resources, was conducted by an independent research firm with companies ranging in size from 20 to more than 1,000 employees.

Still, 28% of the finance chiefs indicated their companies would increase their green focus, compared with 4% who said their companies would decrease their focus.

This is the specific breakdown of the responses:

* No change - 68%.
* Increase significantly - 5%.
* Increase somewhat - 23%.
* Decrease somewhat - 3%.
* Decrease significantly - 1%.

The fact that 72% of the respondents said their companies aren't increasing their green efforts in the coming year is not surprising, says Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources.

“Priorities may have shifted from environmental initiatives to returning to profitability,” McDonald says in a prepared statement. In addition, numerous firms “may already be pursuing green initiatives and not feel they need further investments in the near term.”

Of the 953 firms maintaining the status quo, 300 fall under the category of professional services, while 141 describe themselves as retail and 106 as manufacturing companies.

Although the surveyed CFOs didn't indicate what specific plans their firms would pursue, Joel Dibble, public-relations director of financial-staff brands for Robert Half International, says some of the more common programs are recycling and use of recycled materials, promoting mass transit, using online conferencing to reduce employee travel, and monitoring office temperature and electrical use.

Robert Half provides senior-level accounting and finance professionals to assist companies with project and interim staffing needs. Dibble says the firm regularly surveys chief finanacial officers and other high-level executives on topical issues that would be of interest to their client audience.

The 1,400 firms surveyed were divided evenly among nine geographic regions, of which the South Atlantic had the most companies - 168 - anticipating no change in eco-friendly programs in the coming year. Close behind was East North-Central, with 156 such companies.

Given the current economic climate, it isn't unusual to see some shuffling in a firm’s riorities. Sustainability, an organization’s ability to meet both its business needs and larger social and environmental needs, may not be a top-tier concern at the moment for all companies but is still a focus of many C-level executives,” Dibble says.

For more information about Robert Half International, visit

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