23 July, 2007
With the European Commission on the verge of publishing its long-awaited communication on sustainabable consumption and production, it should have a look at a new American market research study summarised by Joel Makower on his blog.
The “Going Green” survey organised by market researcher Yankelovich shows that US consumers are not really that concerned and informed as some media would claim them to be.
Here is how Makower summarises some of the US findings:
“The majority of consumers really don’t care all that much about the environment. Green simply doesn’t has not captured the public imagination.”
After endless months of magazine covers, TV specials, Al Gore, Live Earth, and a gazillion other media stories and events, how can this be? After all the warnings about flooded coastlines, drowning polar bears, more Katrinas, and the increased threat of invasion of everything from infectious insects to rogue superweeds, why aren’t people concerned? Has all this fallen on deaf ears?
Says Smith: “The fact is, the amount of media interest given to the environment far exceeds the amount of consumer interest. It’s not that consumers aren’t aware of the environment, but there’s something missing in the way consumers are processing information given to them about the environment today.”
Consider: 82 percent of Americans have neither read nor seen Al Gore’s book or movie.
That will likely be news to the many environmental activists and professionals I hear from who proclaim that we’ve reached a “tipping point” or “inflection point” on the environment — the notion that public sentiment is growing, and will soon lead companies and products to transform their ways of doing business. (This may be the real green business bubble I keep hearing about.)
The problem, explains Smith, is that green marketing realities fly in the face of conventional marketing wisdom. “People don’t buy products. They buy solutions to problems,” as Ted Levitt, a marketing guru at Harvard Business School, once famously put it. But since most consumers don’t see the environment as a problem, green marketers must take an extra step, helping them not just to understand the problem, but to actually care about it.”
OK, I know this is the US consumer but I guess a similar survey amongst Europeans would not paint a very different picture.Author : Willy De Backer