The rise of blogs, social networks and online news organizations focused on environmental and social issues have consumers accustomed to receiving independent information instantly. This also gives consumers unprecedented opportunity to verify company claims. More than 40 percent of Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) consumers — the leading segment when it comes to green attitudes, behaviors and purchasing — state that they look for proof when a company makes a claim, according to research from the Natural Marketing Institute.
But greater access to information has not made consumers more cynical about company claims. In fact, the number of consumers who say that companies are more responsible now than they were in years prior is up 10 percent annually since 2006. This shift in attitudes may be a sign that the multitude of company sustainability initiatives is registering positively with consumers, according to the 2008 LOHAS Consumer Trends Database.
One approach that many companies have used to gain trust among consumers is to be endorsed by an independent, non-profit organization that is respected in the field. Over one-third of LOHAS consumers would like to see other trusted sources endorse the claims made by companies, and further validation shows that 85 percent of those looking for verification would like the endorser to be a non-profit organization. An endorsement by an independent organization can help combat consumer confusion and allay fears of greenwashing.