Consumers Tap Whole Foods, Burt’s Bees, Trader Joe’s As Top Green Brands
A survey, conducted in the US and the UK, indicates the environment has taken a back seat to the economy for more than 75 percent of Americans and 66 percent of Britons.
The 2008 ImagePower Green Brands Survey, conducted jointly by Landor Associates, Cohn & Wolfe, and Penn, Schoen & Berland, also indicates that two out of three Americans think the environment is in worse shape than it was five years ago, and that lower income consumers have greater concern for the direction of the environment than wealthier consumers. Despite economic considerations, however, consumers are still willing to pay more for green products.
Consumers in both countries identify themselves as having the biggest impact on the environment. Americans list industry as having had the poorest record of environmental protection, while in the UK, government received the most blame.
Additional findings indicate that despite the abundance of “green” marketing in the last 12 months, consumers still view baseline activities, such as recycling, to be the most powerful contribution to environmental improvement. Further, though 95 percent of consumers think too much packaging is used on consumer goods, only 38 percent include packaging criteria in purchase decision.
Similar to the 2007 ImagePower findings, U.S. consumers believe Body Care and Grocery to be the “greenest” product categories, while Travel and Energy remain at the bottom of the list. One of the most significant differences between the 2008 and 2007 findings is the shift in thinking about the most pressing environmental concerns. In 2007, most consumers were concerned about global warming, and this year’s survey shows that energy and resource issues have increased in importance.
In order to gauge which brands are communicating their green initiatives or values most effectively, the survey asked participants in each country to rank their greenest brands, respectively. The results (see chart above) provide a mix of brands across categories; in the U.S., personal care products make up most of the top 10, while in the U.K. supermarkets do the same.
In addition, 67% of American consumers and 69% of Britons think we are in worse environmental shape now than we were five years ago. In the U.S., industry is still seen as the most responsible for the problem, though British consumers now point to their own behavior as having the greatest impact.
Also, the environment is no longer viewed as a grassroots concern: 36 percent of Americans believe it should be up to the government to implement policies and standards to advance environmental change.
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