Dell, Apple, Microsoft, HP Perceived as U.S. Green Tech Leaders

by | Nov 30, 2008

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Only a few brands have achieved global green recognition, according to GreenFactor, an ongoing (see July’s report here) global technology and environmental research initiative conducted by Strategic Oxygen and Cohn & Wolfe.

Consumer perception of brands’ green leadership varies by region. For example, consumers in the U.S. have completely different ideas about green electronics than those in Japan. Dell, Apple, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard are identified as green leaders in the U.S. Japanese consumers prefer Japanese companies and say Panasonic, Sharp, Sony and NEC are leading green.

To understand “perception vs. reality,” GreenFactor cross-tabulated its findings against Greenpeace’s “Guide to Greener Electronics” which ranks the 18 top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones, TVs and games consoles according to their policies on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change.

This cross-tabulation reveals that the brands most associated with green do not necessarily adhere to the most green practices as defined by Greenpeace, in the case of Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Apple and Microsoft. In contrast, some brands, like Samsung and Nokia, are not getting credit with consumers for their green realities.
So, how are consumers evaluating brands’ environmental initiatives?  Information on a product’s packaging (33 percent) is twice as important as a product’s design (12 percent) to consumers assessing technology green-ness.
Brand web sites are twice as important (32 percent) to consumers as a source of information for a product’s green-ness than their friends or peers (13 percent).

Important to brands’ prioritization of marketing resources, 54 percent of 25-34 year-olds say they are willing to pay more for green technology, while 23 percent of those 65 and older say a green electronics approach is not important to them.

More findings:

  • “Saving energy” ranks first in importance to U.S. consumers considering green electronics (54 percent); “design” (5 percent) is near the bottom of the list of attributes and “image” (4 percent) is dead last.
  • The number one barrier to green sales of consumer electronics in the U.S. is “lack of awareness” (53 percent) – that is, brands are not adequately educating consumers on the energy savings and other environmentally-friendly aspects of their products. The number two barrier to purchase is “price” (45 percent).
  • Consumers say they rely heavily on information on a product’s “packaging” (33 percent), a “brand’s web site” (32 percent), and “independent brand comments online” (28 percent) rather than seeking green product input from “friends / peers” (13 percent).
  • Consumers still are reticent to pay premiums for green gadgets: 57 percent say they do not expect to pay premiums and are not willing to pay. Only 15 percent of consumers say they are expecting premiums and are willing to pay.

GreenFactor’s survey of IT decision makers.

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