Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Despite Global Economic Meltdown, Consumers Have Increased Appetite for Green

2009 Cohn & Wolfe Green Brands Global Survey Reveals Consumers in Brazil, China, and India are Most Eager to Embrace Green Products and Corporate Actions

NEW YORK – July 21, 2009 – A newly released survey, conducted in seven countries -- the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Brazil, India, Germany and France -- indicates that while many environmental beliefs and behaviors are shared across different consumer cultures, others vary widely. Generally, consumers in the US, UK, Germany and France tend to align in their attitudes, while consumers in Brazil, India, and China have divergent views, and are particularly inclined to seek green products and to favor companies they consider green.

The research, conducted by WPP agencies (NASDAQ: WPPGY) Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates and Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB) as well as independent strategy consulting firm Esty Environmental Partners, also identifies some critical trends on which consumers are in global agreement.

Consumers from all seven countries believe that green products cost more than comparable non-green products, and also indicate they plan to spend more money on green products in the coming year. China, India and Brazil showed significant support for additional spend: 73 percent of Chinese consumers say they will spend more, 78 percent of Indians say they’ll spend more, and 73 percent of Brazilians plan to increase their green spend. The percentage of respondents who indicate willingness to spend 30 percent or more on green ranges from 8 percent (UK) to 38 percent (Brazil).

“With the global climate change discussion focused on what the major new economic powerhouses like China, India, and Brazil are willing to do to control their emissions, those three countries stood out in our polling as more interested in buying from environmentally friendly companies and more willing to spend more on green products,” said Scott Siff, executive vice president of PSB. “From a political perspective, this turns the assumptions about those countries on their heads, and from a business perspective it says the market for green branding and green products may be even bigger than generally thought.”

The study finds similar global agreement when consumers are asked about how important it is that companies be “green.” At least 77 percent of consumers in all countries say it’s somewhat or very important; in India and China the numbers are significantly higher: 87 and 98 percent, respectively, say that corporate reputation is an important purchase consideration. Consumers from all seven countries also agreed that the most important step a company can take to demonstrate its “green-ness” is to reduce the amount of toxic or other dangerous substances in its products and business processes.


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