‘Green awareness’ can depend on life factors

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By Leon Gettler

August 30, 2007

HOW green is your consumer? According to research from BP,
people’s response to environmental issues and business depends on
their age and family circumstances.

BP analysis reveals that people aged 18-29 want to be seen to be
doing the right thing but are less likely to do much more than
recycling.

Those aged 30-44 are generally less aware of the issue, but feel
guilty. Often, their children prompt them into action.

People aged 45-54 are scared and worried about the future. They
are concerned about what could happen to the next generation, but
feel that environmental issues are out of their hands.

The findings, which could be relevant for businesses targeting
sectors of the new green market, from automotive companies to home
builders, also revealed that, while there had been a big increase
in environmental awareness over the past 12-18 months, most people
were only willing to do something about it if it did not cost too
much time or money.

The research also found a big take-up of green purchasing
activity and environmentally aware behaviour in such areas as using
reusable shopping bags and buying environmentally friendly
detergents and household cleaners.

The biggest change was in people buying "green" electricity for
their homes. This had increased 45 per cent since 2005.

More people were installing solar energy (up 41.7 per cent) and
buying low-energy white goods (up 34.9 per cent) over the same
period. The number of people switching to environmentally friendly
detergents had risen to 33.9 per cent.

More people were also using reusable shopping bags, taking
shorter showers and refusing plastic bags. Slightly more people
were reusing the blank sides of paper and throwing paper, plastic
and glass into recycle bins.

BP Australia brand manager Peri Hunter said BP Australia was
targeting the 30-44 age group, as this took in families.

"If you can create opportunities for families that are cost
neutral, they will act," Ms Hunter said.

"Our research shows that the children are the key influencers
with their parents. They are also future consumers and they are the
future earth keepers."

Over the next year, BP plans to become Australia’s biggest
marketer of biofuels.

A BP Citibank Mastercard will allow drivers to pay $2.25 a month
to offset emissions from their vehicles.

BP Solar, Australia’s only producer of solar cells, has moved
into profitability. BP Australia is also involved in the
Federal-Government-backed Solar City project in Blacktown, NSW.

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This article was originally posted at The Age by Leon Gettler on August 30, 2007.

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