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Sustainability

Eighty-two Percent Of Consumers Still Buying Green Despite Battered Economy

September 19, 2010
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Green Seal and EnviroMedia Social Marketing, with over 32 years of experience in the environmental field, recently presented research at the National Press Club on global warming and green buying.

Presenting the research were sustainability leaders: Dr. Arthur Weissman, president/chief executive officer (CEO) of Green Seal; Kevin Tuerff, principal/president of EnviroMedia Social Marketing; and Linda Chipperfield, vice president of marketing/outreach for Green Seal.

Eighty-two percent of consumers, or four out of five, say they are still buying green products and services today — which sometimes cost more — even in the midst of a recession.

Half of the 1,000 people surveyed say they are buying just as many green products now as before the economic downturn, while 19 percent say they are buying more green products.

Fourteen percent say they are buying fewer environmentally friendly products.

2009 National Green Buying Research

Other key findings in the new research conducted by telephone in a random digit dial sample were that:

  • Brand Reputation Matters More Than Ads
    • Twenty-one percent of consumers say a product''s reputation is the biggest factor they weigh when making purchasing decisions; word of mouth was cited by19 percent and 15 percent noted brand loyalty. Just 9 percent say green advertising is their primary influencer.

  • More ''Green Claims'' Education Needed
    • About one in three consumers say they don''t know how to tell if green product claims are true
    • One in 10 consumers blindly trusts green product claims
    • Twenty-four percent of consumers are verifying green claims by reading the packaging and 17 percent are turning to research by going online and reading studies.

  • What Consumers Say Versus Do
    • While 87 percent of people surveyed say they recycle, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports just 33 percent of our waste is diverted from landfills
    • Sixty percent of people are looking for minimally packaged goods, which is statistically tied with the 58 percent of those buying green cleaning products. Buying green personal-care products came in at 31 percent.

"This research suggests that consumers are buying green products second only to participating in recycling," said Weissman. "This increased consumer demand sends a signal to manufacturers to produce products that are truly green."

"That should serve as a wakeup call to sellers and marketers of current and future green products and to any company in general," said Tuerff. "There are 76 million consumers ages 18 to 34 who reward companies providing services and products that are less toxic, less packaged and less energy intensive."

Green Seal and EnviroMedia Social Marketing released the research at the first-ever Greenwashing Forum in Portland, Oregon, February 6.

The forum, hosted by the University of Oregon, was inspired by the Greenwashing Indexsm, which was launched in January 2008 by EnviroMedia and the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.


The margin of error on the 2009 National Green Buying Survey is +/- 3.2 percent.

Additional survey results are available by contacting Kelli Johnson at EnviroMedia or Barbara Hodgson with Green Seal.

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