By partnering with Earthsense, which polled U.S. consumers on their perception of corporate sustainability, and Trucost, which compiled a comprehensive quantitative assessment of companies’ global environmental impact, New Scientist magazine has discovered that U.S. consumers only have a little knowledge of companies’ actual environmental performance.
After comparing the two datasets, New Scientist found there was no correlation between the Earthsense and Trucost scores, indicating that consumers are confused about companies’ “green” credentials. More than 100 companies were scored in nine sectors including food & beverage, retail, media, travel & leisure, personal & household goods, industrial goods & services, technology, chemicals and construction materials.
One of the most significant mismatches, says New Scientist, is Fresh Del Monte Produce, which is one of the greenest companies according to U.S. consumers. However, Trucost’s analysis shows that it has the biggest environmental impact ratio of all companies in its sample.
The report also finds that Whole Foods Market has the highest consumer green perception, while Google and eBay have the lowest actual environmental impact.
The article, “Hey, green spender: The truth about eco-friendly brands“, also reveals that producers of food and drinks have the highest environmental impact but there were no significant differences in consumer perceptions between the sectors.
Other key findings show that the Coca Cola Company gets little public credit for some impressive efforts to protect the environment, and green marketing works for some company’s as highlighted by General Electric’s scores — first for consumer perception within its sector and seventh overall — thanks to its Ecomagination campaign.
The report also finds that greater disclosure of companies’ environmental impacts will help investors and consumers to make choices that promote a green economy. But some companies benefiting from underserved green reputations could be vulnerable to a consumer and investor backlash.