How Can We Fix the Green Trust Gap?

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triplepundit comments on a recently released study by BBMG that confirms what we've already seen: that Americans trust and desire seals of approval and that labels are important in green marketing and when talking to green consumers.

  • Almost 25% of consumers say they have no way of knowing if a product is green and does what it claims
  • 77% believe that they can make a positive difference with their purchase decisions.


Posted Apr. 4, 2009
By triplepundit

How do you tell the difference between truly eco-conscious brands
and those that just fake it? It's a hard thing to do without extensive
research. According to a newly released study from branding and
marketing firm BBMG, nearly one in four U.S. consumers say they have no
way of knowing if a product is green or actually does what it
claims–in other words, there's a serious green trust gap between
companies and consumers.

It's not that people aren't interested
in environmentally sound products. BBMG's study, entitled Conscious
Consumer Report: Redefining Value in a New Economy, shows that 77% of
Americans think they “can make a positive difference by purchasing
products from socially or environmentally responsible companies." But
most people don't trust product packaging and company advertising to
guide them in the right direction. Instead, consumers look to
certification seals and labels as well as ingredient lists to determine
whether products are actually green.

It's getting easier every day for people without environmental science backgrounds to see through false advertising. GoodGuide,
for example, provides detailed health and environmental ratings for a
number of food, personal care, and household chemical products. A
number of green seals of approval have also popped up recently,
including Green Seal and the Canada Environmental Choice Program.

So
take note, big companies. Consumers are watching you, and they'll shell
out the big bucks if your eco-claims have substance. According to BBMG,
half of all Americans are willing to pay more for products with social
and environmental benefits, and 67% of those surveyed agreed that
"“even in tough economic times, it is important to purchase products
with social and environmental benefits."

If people don't like
what you're doing, they won't hesitate to tell their friends. Nearly
half (48%) of all Americans tell others to stop buying products if they
discover that brands engage in environmentally destructive practices.

After
all is said and done, BBMG's survey tells us what we already knew: it
pays to tell the truth, especially if the truth makes you look good.

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