Consumers Sip, Don’t Gulp, Green Kool-Aid

August 15, 2007

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Some 34% of consumers say they are much more concerned about environmental issues today than a year ago, but only 22% of consumers say they believe they can make a difference regarding the environment, according to Going Green, a new report from Yankelovich, writes Environmental Leader.

“Consumers are not drinking the Kool-Aid when it comes to green,” said J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich. “While they’re highly aware of environmental issues due to the glut of media attention, the simple fact is that ‘going green’ in their everyday life is simply not a big concern or a high priority.”

Yankelovich illustrates the degree to which all consumers – from “Green-less” to “Green-Enthusiasts” – are likely to buy a product based on its green features:

  • Green-less (29%) Unmoved by environmental issues and alarms
  • Green-bits (19%) Don’t care but doing a few things
  • Green-steps (25%) Aware, concerned taking steps
  • Green-speaks (15%) Talk the talk more than walk the walk
  • Green-thusiasts (13%) Environment is a passionate concern

Despite this, Smith said, companies can exploit the “green-ness” of their products:

  1. Although the environment is not a mainstream consumer concern, it does represent a niche opportunity in the marketplace, with just over 30 million Americans (13% of the 234 million people 16+) “strongly concerned” about it.
  2. Moreover, if organizations are required to meet strict federal and state environmental regulations – often at huge expense – it makes sense to try and leverage “new and improved” green product to consumers.

About the study: Yankelovich’s Going Green Perspective surveyed 2,763 nationally represented consumers aged 16+. The data collection phase of this study ran from April 25 through May 7, 2007. References to “Americans,” “consumers” or “people” throughout the report refer to the total population of consumers aged 16+, unless otherwise noted.

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