A recent report by BBMG paints a fascinating picture of the new mainstream Green Consumer and suggests this is the beginning of a powerful mainstream consumer movement. This ‘New Consumer’ group is said to comprise some 70 million adults who ‘turn over the box’ to find out more about ingredients, pay more for sustainable products and are choosing to enjoy experiences rather than commodities.

The report, entitled Unleashed: How New Consumers Will Revolutionize Brands and Scale Sustainability (March 2011), features ‘videos and photo journals from representative consumers, as well as insights from some of the world’s most powerful and forward-thinking brands.’ It is a very well-designed document, and is a great rich-PDF viewing experience. Definitely worth a download for sustainability-focused marketers.

So what of this new group of responsible purchasers? Are they really taking over? Well, BBMG is a strategy and marketing group who makes their living creating programs targeted at the ‘New Consumer’, so it’s no surprise they paint them as the next great wave destined to sweep the consumerscape. All the same, it’s no secret that everyone is more aware of ingredients and supply chain, and how many people do you know that actually want ‘more stuff’?

I certainly see myself in the ‘New Consumer’ group. Which may not be that great a thing for corporations hoping for a consumer-spending-fired economic recovery. What would happen to the world’s economy if shoppers all suddenly switched to riding their 15-year-old bikes to the Thrift Store and only buying a car every 10 years? At least the microbreweries would flourish.

All speculation aside, the main impression I got from the report was one of inspiration and optimism. There are some brands doing very interesting things, and now I don’t feel quite so alone in my quest for the most environmentally-benign toilet cleaner.

Any marketer with sustainability on the radar would be wise to take the ‘New Consumer’ into consideration. And Wal-Mart better hope they don’t take over completely.

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