22% of Consumers Don’t Know How to Discern Green Products

by | Jul 9, 2009

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ecopulse2In a study of consumer opinions of marketing claims, 22 percent of survey respondents said they have no way of knowing whether a product is green or not, according to research conducted by the Shelton Group.

The EcoPulse survey found that nearly 20 percent of consumers look to the product’s label to determine whether it’s green. Another 15 percent look to the ingredient list.

“People are uncertain what to trust, so there’s almost a ‘buyer beware’ attitude in the market, with consumers feeling they have to rely primarily on what they can read on the label,” said Suzanne Shelton. “Consumers want a trusted source for accreditation, one that is simple to understand.”

Shelton pointed to the Energy Star label as one that consumers trust, because they can see specific numbers on the label.

Consumers don’t like to be misled or betrayed by brands they trust, Shelton said.

When asked what their reaction would be if a company that makes a favorite product and had been advertising itself as “green” received a government fine for failing emissions standards or for polluting a nearby stream, four in ten respondents indicated they would stop buying the product. What’s more, 36 percent would not only stop buying, they’d encourage friends not to buy the product, according to a press release.

More survey results are available here. The survey was conducted in April and May among 1,006 consumers.

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