Only 34 percent of consumers feel much more concerned about environmental issues today than a year ago, according to Going Green, a new report from Yankelovich. And only 22 percent of consumers feel they can make a difference when it comes to the environment.
“Consumers are not drinking the Kool-Aid when it comes to green,” said J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich. “While they’re highly aware of environmental issues due to the glut of media attention, the simple fact is that ‘going green’ in their everyday life is simply not a big concern or a high priority.”
Yankelovich illustrates the degree to which all consumers – from “Green-less” to “Green-Enthusiasts” – are currently likely to buy a product based on its green features.
- Green-less (29%) Unmoved by environmental issues and alarms.
- Green-bits (19%) Don’t care but doing a few things.
- Green-steps (25%) Aware, concerned taking steps.
- Green-speaks (15%) Talk the talk more than walk the walk.
- Green-thusiasts (13%) Environment is a passionate concern.
Despite this, Smith says that companies can exploit the “green-ness” of their products:
- First, while the environment is not a mainstream consumer concern, it does represent a niche opportunity in the marketplace, with just over 30 million Americans (13 percent of the 234 million people 16+) “strongly concerned” about it.
- Second, if organizations are required to meet strict federal and state environmental regulations – often at huge expense – it makes sense to try and leverage the ‘new and improved’ green product to consumers.