green shopping

The 5th Annual ImagePower® Green Brands Survey is out, with some encouraging and surprising results. First, the environment is not going away, despite our best attempts to kill it. With over 9000 people polled in eight countries (Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India and the United Kingdom) this study concludes that overall, concern for the environment is up 3.5%. And the growth is coming from some very interesting places.

Emerging economies are the new eco marketing goldmines.

While cost remains the biggest hurdle to buying green in mature markets like Australia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, the environment still trumps the economy as the issue of greatest concern in the emerging economies of India and Brazil. While 30 percent of all survey respondents plan to spend more on green products next year, in Brazil, China, and India that number rises to more than 70 percent. In China and India, this is a 9 and 3 percent increase, respectively, over 2009. HELLO makers of green products!! Massive Market ALERT!! In China, confusing labeling makes purchases a struggle; shoppers can’t figure out which products are truly more ecofriendly. I guess their packaging communications problems aren’t limited to bad English translations. Seriously though, China could really benefit from a well-managed certification system. Green certification agencies like Canada’s Terrachoice (managers of Canada’s successful ECO-LOGO program) have their work cut out for them.

toxic substancesMessage from the world to corporations: Stop poisoning us.

Across the board, consumers want to buy from environmentally responsible companies. And their #1 concern: reducing toxics. It has become the cost of entry for brands in most markets, the survey says. As Google becomes a global verb, the transparency of toxic ingredients, manufacturing processes and disposal issues will only increase. Water conservation takes second place in Australia, Brazil, China, and India, while consumers in France, Germany, and the United States focus on the use of recycled materials. British consumers show the most interest in reducing the amount of packaging used, ranking it second behind toxin removal.

The Green Briefs Two Bits:

While this survey focuses on global brands and attitudes, there is learning for local green brands as well.  The good news is that consumers generally trust green advertising, especially in developing markets. But people decide for themselves what ‘green’ means, so it’s up to you to find out what your customers value most. Clear communication and transparency will always be in style. And best of all, we’re on the side that’s winning. So stay the course. The world will beat a path to our door.

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