Consumer Demand for Green Products is Still Rising, Survey Finds

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In addition to the one we posted about recently, another consumer survey has been released which shows that despite 2008's downward economic trend and the beginning of the recession, more consumers purchased green products in 2008 than in previous years.

Posted Feb 18, 2009
By Robert Kropp, Social Funds

Now that the downturn has settled upon the world economy for what appears to be a protracted
period, will consumers react by prioritizing bargains over products that benefit the environment?
Or will the trend toward the purchase of green products continue?

According to a survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the trend toward
buying green continues. More consumers purchased green products in 2008 than in 2007, the survey
found, and more consumers were willing to pay a higher price for green products if they were
considered to be of higher quality.

The report, entitled Capturing the Green Advantage for Consumer Companies, surveyed
approximately 9,000 adults aged 18-to-35 in nine countries through online questionnaires. In
addition, face-to-face interviews were conducted in seven major cities in China.

Executives at 20 leading consumer companies were also interviewed about their green experiences
and strategies.

According to the report, "The green movement is about reducing waste and
minimizing our impact on the environment. Companies that translate these goals into a holistic
approach to offering differentiated green products bringing down costs across the entire value
chain have been rewarded with higher margins and market share."

"The continuing expansion
of green consciousness around the world presents a huge opportunity for smart companies," the
report states. "The business case for green remains compelling, especially in a tough market."

46% of respondents to the BCG survey strongly agreed that the actions of individuals can help
protect the environment. When asked what actions they take to help protect the environment, a
majority cited activities that also helped save them money: turning off home electronics,
recycling, using low-energy light bulbs, saving water, and bringing their own bags to the grocery
store were mentioned most often.

When asked about their green shopping habits, a majority
of respondents said that their most frequent green purchases were in the categories of paper and
packaged products, disposable home products, fresh meat and vegetables, and electronics and
appliances. Nearly half of the respondents indicated a belief that green products are of a higher
quality, especially in the category of ingestible products.

A majority of respondents in
all countries also expressed a willingness to pay a premium of 5% or more for green products,
especially those in the food and electronics and appliances categories.

73% of consumers
considered it important that companies have good environmental records. Respondents said that
companies should be clear about product risks and safety, provide information on environmental
impact, have high ethical standards, and treat their employees fairly.

The survey
recommended that companies factor sustainability into their business plans, embed green values
throughout their supply chains, develop measurable goals and reporting structures, and communicate
in a credible way with consumers about their products.


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