AMERICANS REACH ENVIRONMENTAL TURNING
POINT… COMPANIES NEED TO CATCH
UP ACCORDING TO
GfK ROPER CONSULTING GREEN GAUGE® STUDY
NEW YORK–August 22, 2007–GfK Roper Consulting, a division of GfK Custom Research North America, today released its 2007 GfK Roper Green Gauge® study, finding the vast majority (87%) of consumers agreeing they are seriously concerned about the environment. In fact, most Americans are looking to the federal government to strengthen their enforcement of green regulations and (73%), while they say having a balance between economic growth and environmental protection is the goal, the environment should come first when a conflict arises (52%).
The top five environmental issues weighing heaviest on America’s minds are water
pollution and rainforest destruction (56%), diminishing fresh water supply (55%), fuel and energy shortages (54%) and man-made outdoor air pollution (53%). Asked who should take the lead in addressing these and other environmental issues, half of consumers (50%) rank the federal government first and 62% believe current legislation does not do enough to positively impact the environment.
Companies Falling Short…Missing a Growth Opportunity
Business and industry came in second with respect to whom consumers think should take the environmental lead, tied with individual Americans at 35%. However, less than one third of respondents (29%) believe corporate America has fulfilled their environmental protection responsibilities well. In fact, consumers are looking for more green transparency with 74% agreeing every large company should be required to prepare an annual statement of its impact on the environment.
The study results also suggest companies that are slow to take green action may hinder their future growth. A vast majority of consumers say a company’s environmental practices are important in making key decisions including: the products they purchase (79%), the products/services they recommend to others (77%), where they shop (74%), where they choose to work (73%), and where they invest their money (72%). Additionally, four in ten Americans say they are willing to pay for a product that is perceived as being better for the environment. At the same time, 55% agree many environmentally-safe products are not actually better for the environment and most say they are too expensive (74%) and don’t work as well (61%).
Finding the Right Balance…Which Green is More Important?
When asked the main responsibility of large companies, slightly more than one
third (35%) of Americans say businesses should be competitive but not at the cost
of reducing their green efforts. Another 42% agree they should be equally responsible for competitiveness and environmental protection. However, should a conflict arise between the two, a majority of Americans (52%) say protecting the environment
is a more important concern than economic growth.
Many Shades of Green
Segmenting consumers based on their green attitudes and actions, the study
identified five key groups:
- True Blue Greens: Environmental leaders and activists most likely to walk
the green talk representing almost one third (30%) of the population.
Nearly half (48%) turn to environmental groups as their main source of
- Green Back Greens: Do not have time to be completely green and not
likely to give up comfort and convenience for the environment, but willing to
buy green products. They represent 10% of the population. Nearly half
(49%) get information on green issues from newspapers.
- Sprouts: Environmental “fence sitters” who buy green only if it meets their
needs representing just over one quarter (26%) of the population. One third
cite newspapers as their main source of green information.
- Grousers: Generally uninvolved and disinterested in green issues; believe
individual behavior cannot improve environment. 15% of the population.
Newspapers again serve as their major information source on green issues.
- Apathetics: Not concerned enough about the environment to take action
and believe environmental indifference is the mainstream. This group
represents just 18% of the population. TV programs are their main source of
Lack of Education Hinders Many from Going Green
Though the American mindset has shifted to become more environmentallyconscious,
half of consumers say they “do not have the information to be personally involved in increasing their green behavior” and “aren’t sure which products and packaging materials are recyclable.” Nearly half (49%) also state they would do more for the environment if they only knew how. The increasing speed of daily life has also had an impact as 48% admit they know they should make the green lifestyle changes but are too busy. Asked why they seek environmental information, equal numbers (52%) of consumers point to
protecting their personal/family health as those who say they are looking
to “personally protect the environment.”
“America is experiencing an environmental awakening,” adds Kathy Sheehan, senior vice president with GfK Roper Consulting. “However, a ‘green gap’ still exists between consumer awareness and action. Americans want to do the right thing, but lack of information, cost and questions around the true impact of current green products are contributing to their reluctance. Companies who make being green easier and more affordable will be rewarded.”
For more information or to request a copy of the 2007 GfK Roper Green Gauge® Study, please
About GfK Roper Green Gauge®
GfK Starch® is the leader in print ad readership measurement. Its in-person research methodology combines a unique blend of proprietary insights with an extensive print ad database and provides clients with a better understanding of their target markets and audiences.
About GfK Roper Consulting
With offices in the U.S. and UK, GfK Roper Consulting is a division of GfK Custom
Research North America. Offering over 30 years of syndicated research and analysis, GfK Roper Consulting is responsible for GfK Roper Reports® US and GfK Roper Reports® Worldwide, the most up-to-the-minute view of the consumer marketplace in the U.S. and around the globe. In addition, in the U.S. the division has an ongoing study of consumers' attitudes towards the environment -- GfK Roper Green Gauge® and insights into the U.S. Youth market through the GfK Roper Youth ReportTM.
About GfK Custom Research North America...
Headquartered in New York, GfK Custom Research North America is part of the GfK Group. With home offices in Nuremberg, Germany, the GfK Group is the No. 4 market research organization worldwide. Its activities cover five business divisions: Custom Research, Retail and Technology, Consumer Tracking, Media and HealthCare. The Group has 115 companies and a current total of 8,200 employees who offer market research services for 90 countries.
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