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Consumer Buying Goes Green With Economic Recovery

shelton graphicThe 24 percent of Americans who buy green products from eco-friendly companies are affluent early adopters, the most loyal segment of consumers and are willing to pay more for a brand they trust, making them a particularly desirable target audience, according a study by marketing communications firm Shelton Group.

This group of consumers, labeled “actives” in the Shelton Group study, are value-driven shoppers who create an outward extension of their internal values through their purchases. These values align with social justice, equality and protecting the environment.

Actives have higher expectations then other consumers. They tend to like certifications and expect manufacturers to address all of their concerns including what’s in the product, how it’s made and its life cycle.

The EcoPulse 2013 study, a quantitative survey examining how Americans buy green products and their perceptions of corporate environmental and social responsibility initiatives, found the economic recovery has re-aligned consumers’ priorities towards the environment and green purchases.

The survey responses indicate consumers care more about how companies make their product than what they make, a finding that reveals an opportunity for manufacturers. The study suggests manufacturers should call out both the green product reputation and their strong environmental track record on the packaging.

A company’s corporate social responsibility activities had an impact on one-third of those surveyed. However, only 8 percent of this group said they had actually chosen a product or retailer based on nonprofit partnerships or donations.

A separate national survey released this month by Yale Group seems to support the Shelton Group findings. According to that survey, half of all Americans consider the environmental impact of products and services when deciding whether or not to make a purchase.

A product’s recycability, harm to the environment, use of few resource and contribution to global warming are all important attributes considered by Americans before making a purchase, the report says.

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