Why “Health” is the New “Green”

According to the 2010 Edelman Health Engagement Barometer, the general public expects businesses to be involved in health in ways that go well beyond the health of their employees. The study shows that 72 percent of respondents trust companies that are effectively engaged in health, while 65 percent either recommend or buy products from these companies – indicating that a focus on health is a smart business strategy.

“Business has gone ‘green’ – now it’s time to go ‘health,’” said Nancy Turett, Edelman global president, health. “For a company to be prosperous and relevant in the future, it has to make health part of its social contract with all stakeholders and a core part of its business strategy.”

Just over half of the study respondents, however, said that business in general is doing only a “fair” or “poor” job of effectively focusing on health, and only 36 percent trust business to fulfill its role in addressing health.

When asked to consider the health of the public alongside the environment, 73 percent said that it is as important to protect the public’s health as it is to protect the environment. In addition, 69 percent said businesses should put as much effort into maintaining and improving personal and public health as they do into the environment.

Engaging in Health

The 11-country, 15,000-person study found that while more than 77 percent of respondents believe business should be engaged in helping employees and their families lead healthier lives, 92 percent believe companies should be engaging in other ways, too. For example:

  • 71 percent of respondents believe it is important for business to support the health of its local communities;
  • 75 percent believe it is important for business to educate the public on health topics related to its products or services;
  • 75 percent believe it is important for business to create new products or services that maintain and improve personal health; and
  • 70 percent believe business should help to address obesity.

The importance of health as both a business imperative and a business opportunity was powerful worldwide, but particularly strong in emerging markets such as China, India and Mexico.

“Business is in the process of regaining public trust in the wake of the global economic crisis,” said Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman. “Trust and transparency are now as important to corporate reputation as the quality of products and services provided. Factoring the fundamentals of personal and public health into business strategies is key to rebuilding confidence.”

For more information about the 2010 Edelman Health Engagement Barometer, visit http://www.edelman.com/healthengagement.

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