Green shopping still strong

Consumers are still becoming green-conscious despite the global financial crisis according to this recent report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

In a survey of 9,000 consumers in North America, Europe, China, and Japan, BCG says 34% of Europeans (up 2 percent from 2007) said they would continue to systematically look for and purchase green products. In the US, 16% of consumers were reportedly systematic shoppers for green products in 2008.

In the UK, 15% said they shop systematically for green products while in Japan, 11% of consumers are active green shoppers.

The most popular green behavior is said to be budget friendly such as turning off home electronics when not in use; using low-energy light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances; and purchasing locally produced products. Only 7% own a hybrid car, over 13% put money into an environmentally friendly investment fund, and only about 16% do not own a car.

BCG says although some consumers, particularly in China, are unwilling to pay a premium for green products, one-third of consumers across all the other countries surveyed would pay between 5 and 10% more for green products — so long as they were convinced that the products offered direct benefits.

“Consumers greatly value the direct benefits that green products offer such as superior freshness and taste, the promise of safety and health, and savings on energy costs,” says Joe Manget, coauthor of the report and a senior partner in BCG’s Toronto office.

In another report (registration required–it’s free!) released last October, McKinsey & Company said consumers often forget their eco-friendly intention when reaching cash registers. The consulting firm is advising businesses to help consumers change their behavior to realize the market’s true green potential.

One Response to Green shopping still strong

  1. Tim Dunn 30 January, 2009 at 1:44 am #

    The state of California has passed a law, assembly bill number 2417, stating that the words biodegradeable, oxo-biodegradable, degradable, and every possible synonym for those words, in effect, belong to the corn-based plastics (PLA) industry. No biodegradable plastic made out of naphtha, an otherwise useless industrial byproduct, may be labeled biodegradable, nor any synonym thereof, may, given current technlogy, be called biodegradable, even if they do, in fact, biodegrade in one day longer than 120 days. This is true even if the biodegradable plastic alternatives are far more likely to biodegrade in a landfill that the corn based plastic alternative. The net effect of this is to increase the demand for corn based plastics. The result of making non-food items out of corn has driven a price spike in the world grain supply that threatens hundreds of millions of impoverished third world citizens with starvation.

    A further effect of this is to deny the citizens of California the benefits of new technology that makes inexpensive, recyclable, disposable plastic products-garbage bags, shopping bags, plastic cutlery, straws, styrofoam cups and containers, deli containers, soda bottles, etc. etc. The corn based plastics cannot be recycled under in any existing system in place in California, whereas the naphtha based biodegradable plastic alternatives can. In fact, the recycling lobby is trying to ban corn based plastic bottles, because it gets confused with PET, and wrecks their recycled PET plastic batches.

    Who is behind this? I can’t prove it, but I strongly believe that Cargill Inc. and Dow Inc. have been working behind the scenes to create this spike in corn prices, with no concern whatsoever for the lives of hundreds of millions of people who struggle to find food every day. Cargill has acquired the 50 percent interest in Cargill Dow LLC previously 100% owned by Dow Chemical Co. and has renamed the company NatureWorks LLC. That’s right, that friendly neighbor Dow that brought you napalm and Agent Orange. Cargill is a huge company that has a great interest in making things besides food out of corn-no matter how many millions of children in the third world starve to death as a result. Campaign contribution laws in this country are so lax that I don’t think they even had to break the law to get away with this appalling tactic.

    Our (completely recyclable) plastic products biodegrade in the ground in 9 months to 5 years, but we cannot label them biodegradable in the State of California. The ASTM standard that California law refers to is a standard that requires high temperatures and frequent mixing-none of which happens in landfills. IMHO the California standard is in fact likely to mislead the public into believing that their corn based plastic products will degrade under circumstances that do not describe an ordinary landfill. Tim Dunn,

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