Survey: Young Consumers Fight Global Warming by Buying Green

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There is a general idea that green products are more expensive and subsequently less likely to be purchased by a younger, less financially solvent demographic.  A new study by EnviroMedia Social Marketing points out the opposite.

  • 64% of 18-34 year olds believe climate change is human-caused compared to 51% overall.
  • Americans who understand the connection between human actions and climate change are almost 2x more likely to make green purchasing decisions.
  • This group is also more likely to be cautious about green marketing claims.

Posted Mar. 11, 2009

By SustainableLifeMedia

Think older consumers mark the "sweet spot" for green marketing
messages? Think again: A new survey finds that younger consumers are
more likely to buy greener brands – because they understand that global
warming is caused by human activities.

The U.S. consumer survey, by EnviroMedia Social Marketing, reveals
a clear generation gap in understanding the cause of climate change.
Sixty-four percent of 18- to 34-year-olds believe humans cause climate
change, compared to 51% overall. At the same time, the research
indicates that Americans who believe in this connection are almost
twice as likely to buy more green products.
"This should serve as a wake-up call to sellers and marketers of
current and future green products and to any company in general," says
Kevin Tuerff, CEO of Green Canary Sustainability Consulting, a
subsidiary of EnviroMedia. "These consumers reward companies providing
services and products that are less toxic, less packaged, and less
energy intensive."

Tuerff cautions, however, that while younger consumers tend to be
more idealistic and values-driven in their purchasing decisions,
they're also much better at identifying superficial green marketing
messages. "Companies looking to make a quick buck off this generation
by 'going green' should be wary of being labeled a greenwasher by the same audience," he says.

The survey notes that consumers who link climate change to human activity are also more likely to:

  • Have attended college
  • Believe that green transportation or electricity from renewable
    resources is most beneficial for the environment (rather than recycling
    or minimal/reduced packaging)
  • Are influenced more in their green purchasing decisions by
    third-party certifications than by word-of-mouth or manufacturer labels

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