Consumers are cutting back everywhere these days, but one 2009 study shows they intend to buy as green as ever. According to the Cone 2009 Consumer Environmental Survey, 44% of US consumers say they are making the same green purchases as when their stocks were flying, and 34% are actually more likely to purchase green today. By contrast, only 8% of respondents said they were less likely to purchase green products or services.
Consumers also appear to be putting more pressure on companies to behave sustainably and to communicate more effectively. More than a third of respondents say they have higher expectations for companies to make and sell environmentally responsible products during the economic downturn. A whopping 70% say they are paying attention to companies’ environmental behaviour even if they are holding off on purchasing.
One other stat offers some critical direction for marketers. A surprising 63% say they trust companies to tell the truth in their environmental messaging, and 85% think companies should communicate their environmental messaging year round – not just on Earth Day.
So now is not the time for marketers to be making inflated eco claims or to shirk our responsibility for keeping the environment on the corporate agenda. We must help our clients move their own green agenda forward responsibly.
“The fact that consumers continue to be interested in the environment and mindful of corporate efforts, even in the midst of a grueling recession, is evidence that this is more than just a passing trend,” says Jonathan Yohannan, SVP of corporate responsibility at Cone. “Environmental responsibility is not just an expectation in times of prosperity.”
Customers are keeping the faith. It’s up to us to make it happen.

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