Study: For Consumers, Green Is Greenwash

NYTimes logo jpeg A new study out on the green space today, and covered in the New York Times, confirms other data we've seen that shows consumers are interested in green products and services but that it is essential for businesses to establish trust and credibility.

  • Marketing campaigns are seen as just jumping on the bandwagon.  64 % of respondents viewed sustainability efforts as "marketing tools."

Posted Apr. 30, 2009
By James Kanter, The NYTimes

Consumers are skeptical about a wave of green advertising even as the
overall value of that market is exploding, according to results of
market research issued today by Havas Media, a unit of Havas, a global
marketing company based in Paris.

The study, Sustainable Futures ‘09,
finds that many companies are unable to get their messages through to
consumers because some marketing campaigns are seen as little more than
opportunism on the part of big business.

“This lack of connection between what companies are doing and how
they are perceived, threatens to weaken relationships between brands
and consumers,” Havas warned.

The firm found that 64 percent of respondents viewed sustainability
campaigns as a little more than a “marketing tool.” That result, said
Havas, was particularly problematic because consumers continued to show
strong interest in buying goods and services from responsible sources.

“It is not a case of consumers being fickle, but rather a case of
businesses being perceived as unauthentic,” said Havas, which noted
that companies in sectors like food, retail and telecommunications had
been more successful so far than companies in the oil and automotive
sectors at using messages pegged to sustainability.

Havas said its research covered more than 20,000 active consumers in
ten markets and spanned more than 50 brands across eight sectors. It
said its fieldwork was completed in January 2009.

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