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Consumers still want clarity on green issues from world’s biggest brands

Consumers still want clarity on green issues from world’s biggest brands

Brands’ green credentials have a far greater influence on consumer purchasing decisions than Marketing Directors recognise, according to new research published by marketing agency Gyro International. Contrary to predictions that the environment has slipped down the consumer agenda in the current economic strife, the research revealed that ‘green’ is still a significant buying criteria.

The research revealed that 61% of Marketing Directors believe that less than 30% of consumers consider green issues when making purchasing decisions, however the actual figure was 53%. 

Surveying over 2000 consumers and 150 Marketing Directors across Europe and the US, the research also found that UK consumers do not always believe companies’ environmental claims, with only 14% saying they are trusting compared to nearly half (49%) saying they are untrusting. There was a similar disparity between marketers’ assumptions about consumer trust, with 78% of Marketing Directors believing that more than 20% of consumers would be trusting of green marketing messages.

The research was designed to gauge people’s true feelings towards the environment and to gain an understanding of any disparity between the importance businesses place on communicating green credentials and how much consumers actually care. 

The findings are so significant that they formed the basis for a roundtable debate attended by Greg Barker, Shadow Minister for Climate Change & Environment; Simeen Kadi, Group Head of Marketing, The Carbon Trust; and senior marketers from global brands, including Coca-Cola, Google, Shell and P&G.

Richard Perry, COO, Gyro International, comments: “Our research highlights the rise of the conspicuous green consumer, whose purchasing decisions are largely based on products and services that overtly demonstrate their green credentials. These findings concern every business and now, more than ever, it is important for Marketing Directors to understand what is driving consumer purchasing behaviour.”

Greg Barker, Shadow Minister for Climate Change & Environment, comments: “This research demonstrates that business needs to do more to understand UK consumer demand for green products in the recession. However, there is an even more urgent need for greater vision and leadership from government to make green choices easier, cheaper and more informed.”

The research also revealed that although UK consumers consider the environment to be important, they lag significantly behind their European counterparts (63% UK, 74% Europe). They are also much less prepared to pay a premium for environmentally friendly products and services (UK 28%, Europe 53%).

Furthermore, the younger generation is willing to pay more for a greener future with the under 45s found to be more concerned about green issues (69%) than the over 45s (62%).  The younger generation is also more likely to accept paying a premium for environmentally friendly products (41%) than the over 45s (31%).

Gyro International commissioned CCB fast.MAP, a specialist independent global research company that has perfected the use of ‘invitation-only’ online surveys, to provide the consumer and business panels for the study.

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