Wolf Creek looking west from the Great Miami River in Dayton. Five Rivers MetroParks has partnered with the city of Dayton and Miami Conservancy District to develop a comprehensive 20-year master plan for 12 miles of river corridor in greater downtown Dayton. The Downtown Dayton Riverfront Master Plan should be completed by summer 2018. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Survey: Most businesses committed to sustainability and conservation

Cox Conserves has released the results of its national sustainability survey which shows that small- and medium-sized business owners are optimistic about sustainability in the U.S.

Many fear that sustainable practices in the country are in jeopardy, but they are hopeful because of improvements they’ve made within their respective organizations, the survey shows.

The survey found that 72 percent of respondents think the U.S. should participate in the Paris Climate Agreement. While 76 percent believe in climate warming, female small- and medium-sized business owners tend to believe in it at a higher rate than men, 81 percent versus 67 percent, according to the survey.

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“The results of this year’s survey were refreshing and demonstrate that individuals can and do make a difference in sustainability,” said Cox Enterprises senior vice president of finance Lacey Lewis, who oversees the company’s Cox Conserves sustainability program. “Although (small- and medium-sized business) owners see opportunities where the country can improve, they also recognize areas where their personal actions are contributing to the greater good.”

Cox Enterprises is the parent company of Cox Media Group Ohio, which operates the Dayton Daily News, Journal-News, Springfield News-Sun, WHIO-TV and WHIO radio properties.

Compared to 2015, the 2017 survey showed that there has been an increase in the number of small to medium businesses that have implemented sustainable business practices. In 2015, 62 percent of small businesses had implemented some type of company or employee-based sustainability program, and as of this year that had increased to 88 percent.

More than half of business owners who responded to the survey said their companies are either committed or very committed to increasing sustainable business practices. Just 7 percent of those surveyed said they were not committed to increasing sustainability activities.

The survey found that 63 percent of small to medium businesses feel somewhat worse or much worse about U.S. sustainability since January, while 24 percent feel about the same and 12 percent feel better.

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The Cox Conserves sustainability survey was conducted in August among a national sample of 509 “decision makers” of businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees. The survey, which was launched in 2014, is part of the Cox Enterprises commitment to conservation and sustainable business practices.

Since 2007, Cox has offset 82,000 tons of carbon, saved 57 million gallons of water through conservation and diverted 97,000 tons of waste. Cox Conserves, the company’s national sustainability program, is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

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