Marketers Warned To Stay Clear Of ‘Green Trap’

Environmental_leader_jpegsOriginally posted Nov. 6, 2007
Environmental Leader

America’s consumers offer a warning to business leaders and marketers
looking to ride the green wave: either back your eco-friendly words
with socially responsible actions or risk a backlash. Conscious
consumers are demanding that companies be transparent about their
practices and accountable for their impact on people and the planet.


Nearly nine in ten Americans say the words “conscious consumer”
describe them well and are more likely to buy from companies that
manufacture energy efficient products (90 percent), promote health and
safety benefits (88 percent), support fair labor and trade practices
(87 percent), and commit to environmentally friendly practices (87
percent), if products are of equal quality and price, according to the inaugural BBMG Conscious Consumer Report.

“In a world of green clutter, conscious consumers expect companies
to do more than make eco-friendly claims. They demand transparency and
accountability across every level of business practice. Avoiding the
green trap means authentically backing your words with socially
responsible actions,” says Raphael Bemporad, founding partner of BBMG.

Consumers’ most important issues are the ones that affect their
health and wellness most directly, such as safe drinking water (90
percent), clean air (86 percent) and finding cures for diseases like
cancer, AIDS and Alzheimers (84 percent). By comparison, only 63
percent describe global warming as the most or a very important issue.

Americans readily self-identify as “conscious consumers” (88 percent
well, 37 percent very well), “socially responsible” (88 percent well,
39 percent very well) and “environmentally-friendly” (86 percent well,
34 percent very well). By contrast, fewer respondents self-identify as
“green” (65 percent well, 18 percent very well), which is viewed as
more exclusive.

While price (58 percent very important) and quality (66 percent very
important) are paramount, convenience (34 percent very important) has
been edged out by more socially relevant attributes: where a product is
made (44 percent very important), how energy efficient it is (41
percent very important) and its health benefits (36 percent very
important) are all integral to consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Whole Foods Market (22 percent) tops the list of the survey’s most
socially responsible companies, followed by Newman’s Own (19 percent),
Wal-Mart (18 percent), Burt’s Bees (17 percent) and General Electric,
Johnson & Johnson and Ben & Jerry’s (all 16 percent).

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