Consumers say ‘greenness’ matters

Most consumers claim that the green credentials of an item will influence their decision on whether or not to buy it, according to a survey on environmental branding.

The survey carried out by market researchers YouGov asked over 1,000 respondents to try to ignore their other opinions about branding, products and companies and consider only their attitudes to the environment.

Over two thirds of those questioned said that the ‘greenness’ of a brand did indeed influence their decision.

The survey suggests that the majority of consumers are seeing companies’ environmental efforts as genuine rather than simple green wash.

Unsurprisingly, those companies which had built their business on an ethical pitch were ranked among the highest by the public.

The Body Shop was seen as the most ethical company in the UK, followed by cleaning product manufacturer Ecover and food producer Whole Earth.

But two other big names were also found in the top five, the Co-op and Tesco, reflecting the perceived efforts of high street companies to go green.

“Ethical marketing clearly works,” said YouGov spokesman Stephan Shakespeare.

“The brands that have tried hardest to sell their green credentials are also the ones the public rates highest.”

As well as being seen as the greenest option for supermarket shopping, the Co-op earned ‘greenie points’ for its promotion of ethical banking services.

“We have implemented a range of initiatives across all aspects of our activities over many years,” said the Co-op’s director of corporate affairs, Simon Williams.

“We led the switch to green electricity and these credentials were further underlined last year when we became the first major retailer in the UK to switch virtually all of our outlets to green electricity.

“Co-operative Financial Services is a recognised leader in ethical finance and remains the only organisation to have customer mandated ethical policies for both its banking and insurance operations.”

Sam Bond

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