Economy Won’t Slow Down Green Consumers

by | Jul 31, 2008

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Many Americans, including those who are enduring financial hardship, are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products, according to a survey conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Half of the respondents to the survey said they would “definitely” or “probably” pay 15% more for eco-friendly clothes detergent (51%) or for an automobile (50%). Forty percent said they would spend 15% more on “green” computer printer paper and 39 percent would do the same for “green” wood furniture.

Americans who said their current financial situation is “fair” or “poor” were just as willing to spend 15% more on environmentally-friendly detergent or wood furniture as those Americans more confident of their current financial situation.

Moreover, a majority of Americans said it is important to them that a number of products they purchase be environmentally friendly — automobiles (66% say it is “important” or “essential”), clothes detergent (62%), and computer printer paper (51%).

The survey also reveals that Americans want additional information about the environmental impacts of products to appear on labels. Solid majorities say that it is either “important” or “essential” to have eco-labels that describe the environmental impacts caused by product manufacture (73%), use (73%) and disposal (79%).

When asked to rate the trustworthiness of various eco-label sponsors, 75% of respondents said environmental groups are “very” or “somewhat” trustworthy, while 55% said government agencies and 51% said industry groups are trustworthy.

“These results suggest that manufacturers who offer high-quality and credibly labeled eco-friendly products will have opportunities to gain a competitive edge,” said Graeme Auld, a doctoral candidate at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Findings in the GfK Roper/Yale Survey on Environmental Issues are derived from two national telephone surveys of Americans, ages 18 and over, conducted from March 28-30 (n=1,004) and April 4-6, 2007 (n=1,006) as part of GfK Roper’s weekly OMNITEL telephone omnibus service.

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