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Burt’s Bees, Whole Foods Perceived Greenest US Brands

A global study on consumer perceptions of green brands and corporate environmental behavior reveals global differences about their top environmental concerns. A key finding shows that while climate change is important across most countries, 30 percent of Brazilians and 26 percent of Indians cite deforestation as the top issue, and in Australia, 68 percent of consumers say it’s important that companies manage water efficiently.

In the United States, energy use is the biggest green issue or problem, although economic concerns are taking precedence over environmental ones with 79 percent of those polled citing greater distress about the economy. Thirty-five percent of respondents say they will spend more on green in the coming year, which is down slightly from last year.

The fifth annual ImagePower Green Brands Survey polled more than 9,000 people in eight countries and was conducted by WPP agencies, Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates, Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), and independent strategy consulting firm Esty Environmental Partners.

The survey also reveals that the majority of global consumers plan to spend the same or more money on green products in the coming year, with more than 70 percent of consumers in China, India and Brazil saying they will spend more.

The majority of consumers — over 60 percent — in all countries want to buy from environmentally responsible companies, but the cost of green products continues to be a challenge in developed countries. Selection and labeling are the biggest challenges in developing economies, according to the report.

More than two-thirds of respondents in each country say reducing toxics and dangerous substances is the most important activity a company can do to be green, followed by water conservation or recycling.

Seventy-five percent of U.S. consumers also say that it is somewhat or very important to buy brands from green companies, although more people said that this was ‘very important’ in 2009.

The top ten U.S. brands perceived to be the greenest in this year’s study includes several new companies: Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Google, Aveeno, Publix and Microsoft, compared to last year’s survey. Dropped from the 2009 list are Clorox Green Works, Toyota, P&G, Wal-Mart, Disney and Dove.

Other significant changes to the ranking includes Burt’s Bees move from the second position to number one, while SC Johnson dropped to number seven from number four and Ikea fell to number ten from number eight.

Here is the list of the top ten brands.

–Burt’s Bees

–Whole Foods

–Tom’s of Maine

–Trader Joe’s

–Google

–Aveeno

— SC Johnson

–Publix

–Microsoft

–Ikea

The results seem to indicate that Burt’s Bees favorable association with “green” has not been damaged since Clorox acquired it, as some feared.

The study also finds that “helper brands,” which provide useful information, are growing in importance as well as brands that help consumers go green easier through online tools, tips and other communications.

Here are the top green issues:

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