Posts Tagged ‘consumers’

The new Yankelovich report on green living is out, and is confirming what we have been seeing in the marketplace. Sure, citizens are concerned about the environment, but they are not willing to pay extra for green products.

Environmentalism is developing among U.S. consumers — especially among Echo Boomers (ages16-29) and GenXers (ages 30-43), who both said they are more concerned about the environment compared to a year ago. But while interest in green issues continues to grow, consumers’ willingness to pay more for green alternatives has decreased. “There is a looming challenge for marketers of green products and services,” said Dr. David Bersoff, the EVP in charge of global knowledge and intelligence at Yankelovich and author of Going Green 2. “Consumers will be pushing for stricter governmental and institutional green policies, and they’ll be choosing brands to a greater extent based on green considerations. But at the same time, they are becoming less willing to help marketers pay for the greening of their business and products.” While concern about the environment is increasing among the population as a whole, it is still — for the most part — a minority position. Although 49% of consumers feel that our environmental problems are severe and 51% feel that these problems demand immediate corrective action, only 41% of Americans express high levels of personal concern, a meager four-point increase over last year. “It is important to note that, contrary to what might have been expected in the midst of rising unemployment unemployment, interest rates and fuel prices, increased levels of economic concern did not reduce levels of environmental concern,” said Dr. Bersoff. “In fact, somewhat surprisingly, consumers who have no financial anxiety appear to be the least attractive targets for new green products and services.”

The pressure is on marketers and policy makers to green their stuff, at no extra cost to consumers. Of course, this does not relieve citizens from their responsibility to consume less.

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From Greenbiz, I learned about a recent survey from the UK Co-op amongst its 100,000 members. The survey provides a very telling picture of people’s mindsets relative to all things green. Because if its scale – 100,000 members polled, the findings are significant. Co-op shoppers were asked the following question: what is your top ethical priority (when shopping for food)? Here are the results:

Ethical trading 27%
Animal welfare 25%
Environmental Impact 22%
General animal welfare issues 21%
Fairtrade 14%
Food Quality, Diet and Health 12%
General environmental impact 9%
Community Retailing 9%
General ethical trading 8%
Packaging and waste 8%
Sound sourcing (inc child labour) 5%
Animal testing 4%
Climate change 4%
Sustainable sourcing 1%
Other 5%

A common interpretation of those results has been that ‘Brits Care More About Animals Than Climate Change’:

Paul Monaghan, the Co-op‘s head of ethics, said the group believed that consumers’ apparent indifference to climate change was likely to be the result of believing they have little influence to force change: “They may believe they are powerless on climate change. People can choose to buy Fairtrade or Freedom Food labels, but there is no carbon label yet. We think shoppers see climate change as an issue for corporations and governments.

This is consistent with most of the research we have seen so far. Climate change is perceived as a global issue, to be addressed globally. Until it is made personally relevant and people are given the solutions to address it, it will most likely remain so.

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