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22% of Consumers Don’t Know How to Discern Green Products

ecopulse2In a study of consumer opinions of marketing claims, 22 percent of survey respondents said they have no way of knowing whether a product is green or not, according to research conducted by the Shelton Group.

The EcoPulse survey found that nearly 20 percent of consumers look to the product’s label to determine whether it’s green. Another 15 percent look to the ingredient list.

“People are uncertain what to trust, so there’s almost a ‘buyer beware’ attitude in the market, with consumers feeling they have to rely primarily on what they can read on the label,” said Suzanne Shelton. “Consumers want a trusted source for accreditation, one that is simple to understand.”

Shelton pointed to the Energy Star label as one that consumers trust, because they can see specific numbers on the label.

Consumers don’t like to be misled or betrayed by brands they trust, Shelton said.

When asked what their reaction would be if a company that makes a favorite product and had been advertising itself as “green” received a government fine for failing emissions standards or for polluting a nearby stream, four in ten respondents indicated they would stop buying the product. What’s more, 36 percent would not only stop buying, they’d encourage friends not to buy the product, according to a press release.

More survey results are available here. The survey was conducted in April and May among 1,006 consumers.

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One thought on “22% of Consumers Don’t Know How to Discern Green Products

  1. I am generally suspicious of studies that conclude a subject is important, particularly when motivated by an organizations that has a vested interest in the subject being important.

    So it is my pleasure to independently confirm this result as consistent with the results we are finding at open4energy. We are an open source supplier of information about green technology. We have just published a review of how much energy is used in phantom power, when charging a well known brand of PDA, a BlackBerry.

    The results find that 10 times the energy needed for charging is typically wasted leaving the charger plugged in after charging is complete. The full details can be found at http://open4energy.com/forum/mc/nb/phantom_power

    But the point we make in support of your findings is this. It seems that most device owners are unaware exactly what phantom power is. With this being the case, it would be impossible for them to assess if a charger was energy efficient as advertised, or not.

    We further find that a large portion of information on the internet regarding the subject of energy efficiency in consumer computing devices is simply wrong. It has been written to promote one or other device, usually the a kill a watt (which is stated inaccurate under 60 W) or a smart power strip claiming impossible energy reductions.

    Note the new term “vampire power” and not the traditional term of “standby power” as the hype is picked up.

    Thank you for this report, and may I add our warning to be diligent on where you get the information you will need to make an informed decision on energy efficiency.

    And don’t forget that the best, and FREE, savings method is to “turn it off” when not being used.

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